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President Sooronbai Jeenbekov has made a number of proposals at the opening of the II International Conference on “Islam in Modern Secular State.” He pointed out that every secular state has some basic functions, and one of them is to ensure peace and order and development in society. “Therefore, it became necessary to expand state intervention in the sphere of religion. In order to endorse this point, I would like to offer the following four ideas for discussion during the conference,” Jeenbekov said.

First, he noted that state bodies are obliged to take care of the sustainable preservation, as the highest value, of the existing diversity in society. “Diversity is a particular advantage and achievement of our country. Despite the fact that the Kyrgyz people are a multinational and multilingual nation, we are citizens of one country. We are compatriots, associates, and like-minded people. Every citizen of the state must learn a tolerant attitude towards all religious movements. Respect for other people’s opinions and strong interreligious harmony are important for society,” the country leader said.

He stressed that only a state, and not an organization or other structure, should take care of the people as a whole, not allowing division into insiders and outsiders, opposing one religion to another. “It is necessary to strengthen interfaith 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 secular society according to secular laws,” the President added.

For these purposes, according to him, it is necessary to develop appropriate regulations on what was indicated above, as well as to ensure their implementation.

The second proposal Jeenbekov voiced was creation of new forms of relations between religion and the state to ensure peace and order in society and international harmony. “The twenty-five-year history of our independence states the need for strict adherence to historical traditions to ensure the sustainability of society. To do this, we need to expand the path for social partnership between the state and the traditional for our society Islam and the Orthodox religion. At the same time, this obliges representatives of these religions to take greater responsibility for the future of society,” the President began to explain.

At the same time, the country leader stressed that it is necessary to strengthen the control requirements for the number of followers of new non-traditional religions and extend the period of their state registration. “Third, there is a need for an adequate response to new challenges in this area. For example, there is now a need to ensure all levels of religious education, corresponding to the future development of our society. For example, for the first time in Kyrgyzstan, imams began to be attracted for additional education. The Islamic College has begun to introduce educational standards that meet the requirements of the state standard, under the supervision of the Ministry of Education, which is also an example worthy of support. Madrasas, Islamic college, Islamic institute, and Islamic university should be the appropriate steps of a single educational system. In the future, it is necessary to create an Islamic academy, whose activities will be under the control of the state,” the President continued.

The fourth proposal by Jeenbekov is promotion of traditional Islamic values. The President said that Islam, professed by the ancestors, does not contradict the foundations of secular society, the requirements of secular laws. “It fully met the basic interests of the ancient Kyrgyz people. And it was adopted by our ancestors, because it harmoniously combined with folk traditions and rituals, with the nomad worldview. In the Middle Ages, with the spread of Islam in Central Asia, cities began to develop in Kyrgyzstan, mosques, madrasas, and libraries appeared,” the President added.

He stressed that modern Islam is an integral part of social, cultural and spiritual development, public life in Kyrgyzstan, and support for the Hanabilah as a religion of peace, tolerance, patience, good, mercy and decency should serve to strengthen the unity of the people of Kyrgyzstan.

The II International Conference on “Islam in Modern Secular State” was held from 15 to 16 November. It was attended by experts, scientists in the field of theology and religion from 20 countries of the world, as well as representatives of government agencies and international organizations. The conference was organized by the State Commission on Religious Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic.

© 2018 Embassy of Kyrgyz Republic in New Delhi, India