KYRGYZSTAN SLIGHTLY BACKPEDALS ON ANTI-ISLAMIC CAMPAIGN.

Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 104

President Askar Akaev told a Bishkek news conference on May 30 that “there are no reasons for speaking of a threat of religious extremism in Kyrgyzstan for the time being…Should such a threat arise, the state will take the most severe measures toward the representatives of extremist religious currents,” Akaev warned. (Russian agencies, May 30)

The statement slightly retreats from the recent pronouncements of the Security Ministry, which had taken command of state policy on religion after the formation of the anti-Islamic troika of Russia, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. The Security Ministry has depicted the Islamic fundamentalist “threat” as real and present, and recommended police measures (see the Monitor, May 5,11,12) Akaev’s statement, however, seems to suggest that the state does not plan an immediate resort to repression. If so, this would distance Kyrgyzstan from Uzbekistan.–VS

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