16 April 2014, 15:29
Two imams banned from mosque service in Kyrgyzstan
Osh, April 16, Interfax - Two members of extremist religious organizations banned in Kyrgyzstan worked as mosque imams in the Jalal-Abad Region in southern Kyrgyzstan.
The ministers of faith were arrested by law enforcement officers, deputy government representative to the region Zhumagul Egemberdiyeva said at a Wednesday meeting with regional officials.
"Members and followers of extremist religious organizations should not be allowed to serve in mosques because they could use their position to draw their followers into the ranks of banned religious organizations," Egemberdiyeva said.
The Kyrgyz State Committee for National Security confirmed the arrest: "Efforts are under way to check whether an imam from the Bazar-Korgon District and yet another one from the Suzak District in the Jalal-Abad Region have links to extremist religious organizations."
"These imams have been suspended from religious service," the Committee spokesperson Rakhat Sulaimanov told Interfax.
Over the past few years Kyrgyz police have identified a number of cases where mosque imams were members of banned extremist religious organizations.
"This misleads the devout and especially young people who, unaware of the extremists' true motives, they become their followers," Kurbanaly Uzakov, who chairs the state commission for religious affairs in southern Kyrgyzstan, told Interfax.
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