Ferghana.Ru, Bishkek, 19 Jan 2009 – President of Kyrgyzstan Kurmanbek Bakiyev defied the United States and European Union and signed the new edition of the law “On freedom of conscience and religious organizations”. The amended legislation banned propaganda of unorthodox religious organizations in the country.
Initially expected to became a barrier for radical Islamic structures, the ban affected Protestant Church missionaries. Baptists, Evangelists, and others were not the only ones to protest against the draft law intended to make life of unorthodox religions harder. Even the US Congress and European Union appealed to the Kyrgyz president not to sign the law which they said was a serious breach of the OSCE standards.
Bakiyev refused to heed the requests. Proselytism (religious conversion), evangelistic activity beyond temples and chapels, and private religious tutoring were banned in Kyrgyzstan. Experts emphasize that adoption of the law constituted an attempt to relieve tension in society (at least partially) by limiting the powers of unorthodox religious and tightening control of the state over religious matters in general.
Specialists meanwhile point out that the part radical Islam is playing in the region nowadays is a threat to stability worth than that posed by Protestants. Radical Islam owes its popularity to the problems typical of all of Central Asian countries and not Kyrgyzstan alone – impoverishment, corruption, lack of proper education, and lack of political, economic, and social stability. Hence the popularity of radical structures promoting traditional Islamic values.Number of View: 515