Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 90

The Spiritual Directorate of Muslims in Kyrgyzstan has issued a statement accusing Russian-language newspapers of “stirring up unrest, misrepresenting facts, and labeling Muslims as Wahhabites and fanatics… These [publications] aim to foster hostility toward Islam and practicing Muslims,” according to the statement. The Spiritual Directorate held the state authorities responsible for allowing newspapers to “insult our religion and the Muslims — an obvious provocation aimed at undermining stability.” Warning that recurrence could lead to unrest, the Directorate urged the authorities to take legal steps against publication of such articles. (Russian agencies, May 8)

The Spiritual Directorate of Muslims, a carryover from the Soviet era, normally behaves in tame fashion toward the authorities. Its unusual statement follows the publication in Kyrgyzstan’s leading Russian-language newspaper, Vecherny Bishkek, of a conspiracy story credited to the State Security Ministry which purported to describe a vast Islamic conspiracy against Kyrgyzstan and other Central Asian countries. (See the Monitor, May 5) — VS

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