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Kyrgyz Officials Detain 'Leader' Of Banned Islamic Group

BISHKEK -- Authorities in Kyrgyzstan's northern Chui region say they have arrested the leader of a banned Islamic group.

Regional police department spokesman Nurbek Toktosunov told RFE/RL on November 13 that a 47-year-old man arrested in late October is "the leader of a religious community that follows the teachings of the Yaqyn Inkar Islamic movement."

Yaqyn Inkar was founded in India. Authorities in Kyrgyzstan, a mostly Muslim country whose secular government is wary of people whose religious beliefs or practices fall outside the mainstream, deemed it an extremist organization and banned it in June.

Toktosunov also said that the suspect has two wives, as well as 12 children who have never been officially registered and were not enrolled in school.

According to Toktosunov, the suspect regularly visited India and Bangladesh to take part in Yaqyn Inkar seminars and in 2003 translated several books of the religious group from Urdu into Kyrgyz and Russian.

Members of Yaqyn Inkar try to live as people did when the Prophet Muhammad was alive, in the seventh century. They do not use modern technical devices, refuse medical and social services, travel on foot, and wear only traditional white clothes.

In 2016, before the group was banned, Kyrgyz officials expressed concerns about the religious movement, saying it was propagating its ideas without obtaining legal permission.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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