License to Preach in North Kyrgyzstan

Police in the northern province of Issykkul say they are finding it harder and harder to tell the difference between Islamic extremists and individuals engaged in acceptable religious proselytising.

License to Preach in North Kyrgyzstan

Police in the northern province of Issykkul say they are finding it harder and harder to tell the difference between Islamic extremists and individuals engaged in acceptable religious proselytising.

Tuesday, 21 April, 2009
Late last year, the regional governor banned Muslim proselytising altogether in an attempt to stamp out the presence of the radical group Hizb ut-Tahrir.



Although traditionally stronger in the south of Kyrgyzstan than in the north, the group seems to be growing in strength here and the local authorities believe its influence is seeping into the mosques. Less than half the hundred or so mosques in Issykkul region comply with official registration requirements.



The outright ban on preaching was replaced this spring by a compromise arrangement, proposed by the country’s official clerical body, where special ID is issued to those missionaries regarded as legitimate.



Police in the town of Balykchi have their reservations about this, alleging that some of those professing to spread the word are in fact criminals.

Kyrgyzstan
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