Muslim Missionaries Make Kyrgyz Inroads Through Bangladeshi Madrasah

Source: Radio free Europe

By Ron Synovitz, Venera Djumataeva and Gulaiym Ashakeeva

A conservative Sunni Muslim movement that is banned in most of Central Asia has made inroads into Kyrgyzstan with recruiting efforts that include offers of a free Islamic education in Bangladesh for children from poor, rural families.

Documents obtained by RFE/RL confirm that security officials in Kyrgyzstan are increasingly concerned about a movement called Tablighi Jaamat, which means “Messengers’ Assembly” in Arabic. Authorities have been alerted about the movement and told to monitor the activities of its members.

Although it proclaims to be pacifist and apolitical, Tablighi Jamaat has been banned in Russia as an extremist organization. It also is prohibited in Iran, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

The chairman of the Kyrgyz parliament’s Education, Science, Culture, and Sports Committee, Kanybek Osmonaliev, says the government in Bishkek should prevent Kyrgyzstan from being a Tablighi bastion in Central Asia.

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