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President of Kyrgyzstan: It is time for state to intervene in religion sphere

The President of Kyrgyzstan is confident that one of the tasks of the state is to strengthen interfaith harmony, mutual understanding and mutual respect between believers and those citizens who consider themselves outside of religion in every possible way. Sooronbai Jeenbekov said this today at the 2nd International Conference Islam in Modern Secular State. The Information Policy Department of the Presidential Administration reported.

According to Sooronbai Jeenbekov, there are many problems in the republic in the sphere of relations between the state and religion.

«Religion gained complete freedom in the years of independence, however, very important questions appeared that require a definite answer. For example, no one has the right to interfere with a person’s religion, but at the same time, what kind of relationship should be between the state and religious activities? If we turn to world practice, we see that different countries have different policies in this area,» he said.

We need to implement a religious policy that is consistent with the objectives of the country’s development strategy, adopted on the basis of public discussion with the participation of broad segments of the population.

Sooronbai Jeenbekov

The head of the Kyrgyz Republic noted that there was no ready-made recipe or sample for developing own successful religious policy. And he stressed that each state, proceeding from its own historical path, relying on its own culture, taking into account the future, determined the policy of regulating the religious sphere.

«Kyrgyzstan has emerged as a multinational and multi-faith republic. Religion has positively influenced many areas of society and the state, becoming an additional institution for the integration of citizens,» Sooronbai Jeenbekov added.

At the same time, taking advantage of the freedom provided, many different religious movements, sects, madhhabs and tariqats, whose ultimate goals remain a mystery to society, have appeared, he said.

«We are witnessing how some organizations and movements are trying to politicize religion,» the president said.

The head of state recalled that there were many cases when some dogmas were attributed to Islam that had nothing in common with it, and its role in educating citizens in the spirit of decency, mercy and kindness, and the integration of society was completely denied.

Unfortunately, there are those who, under the guise of Islam, are trying to impose their traditions and culture on the Kyrgyz people, who is trying to remove young people from modern knowledge, achievements of culture, science and technology. And we feel the impact of events taking place in the Central Asian region, and the activities of some groups. Some of our citizens have become victims of those who are trying to use Islam for their own selfish purposes, to turn it into an instrument of violence and extremism. The state has some basic functions. One of them is to ensure peace, order and development in society," stressed Sooronbai Jeenbekov and added that it was therefore necessary to expand state intervention in the sphere of religion.

The head of state said that every citizen should learn a tolerant attitude towards all religious trends; respectful attitude to other people’s opinion and strong interreligious consensus were important for the society. «But it will not come by itself. Someone must patiently and painstakingly act in this direction for a long time. No organization, no team can achieve this on their own. Only the state can ensure this. Only it cares about the people as a whole. It will not allow dividing into «us» and «them,» opposition of one religion to another. It is necessary to strengthen inter-religious harmony in every way, as well as mutual understanding and mutual respect between believers and those citizens who consider themselves outside of religion. At the same time, representatives of religious movements themselves should live in a secular society according to secular laws,» noted Sooronbai Jeenbekov.

He stressed that it was necessary to develop relevant regulatory legal acts and ensure their implementation. «Transformation of such behavior into a daily habit, which will promote development, requires efforts from the state. Only it is able to direct religion into the mainstream of the development of the whole society. Therefore, its role in the sphere of religion should be greater than it is now. The second, 25-year history of our independence states the need for strict adherence to historical traditions to ensure the sustainability of society. For this, it is necessary to expand the path for social partnership between the state and the traditional for our society Islam and the Orthodox religion,» the head of the Kyrgyz Republic noted.

He pointed out that along with the state registration of new religious trends, it is necessary to strengthen the requirements for the number of their followers and extend the deadlines. «We need to create new forms of relationship between religion and the state to ensure peace, order in society and inter-ethnic harmony. There is a need for an adequate response to new challenges in this area. For example, there is a need to ensure all levels of religious education corresponding to the future development of our society,» Sooronbai Jeenbekov added.