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Kyrgyzstan To Set Up Interreligious Council

BISHKEK -- The Kyrgyz government says an interreligious council will be created to regulate the number of religious groups in the country and their activities, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

A special state commission has been formed and has begun organizing the council. Commission chairman Bolot Abdrakhmanov told RFE/RL that the establishment of the commission was discussed at a special gathering held in Bishkek today.

He said the meeting included government officials, theologians, and religious experts from Russia, the European Union, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Other topics discussed included religious education, freedom of religion, religion in schools, and interreligious concord and tolerance.

According to official statistics, there are currently more than 30 different religious groups registered in predominantly Muslim Kyrgyzstan. But independent Kyrgyz experts estimate there are more than 200 religious congregations present in the country.

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