29 May 2017
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  • » 07/25/2014, 00.00


    Bishkek: Supreme Court outlaws Ahmadis

    The country's highest judicial authority rejects the appeal filed by the community for state registration and freedom of worship. In practice, it will also be impossible for Ahmadis to pray in private. The ruling "is equal to banning us in Kyrgyzstan," a believer says.

    Bishkek (AsiaNews) - Muslims who adhere to the Ahmadi doctrine in Kyrgyzstan do not have the right to register with the State, and cannot organise themselves as a religious community.

    The Supreme Court of Kyrgyzstan on 10 July rejected the appeal made by the community against the decision (made in 2011) denying them the right to obtain state registration. Now, if they were to meet in private to pray, they risk arrest and a fine from police.

    This "means that Ahmadi Muslims cannot act like Ahmadi Muslims and organise meetings for worship or any other activity together," Asel Bayastanova, the Ahmadis' defence lawyer, told Forum 18 News Service.

    Ahmadis "may in theory, under the Constitution, unofficially gather in private places for worship," she noted. "But the authorities may well punish them if they find Ahmadis meeting together for religious activity."

    For an Ahmadi living in the capital Bishkek, who wants to remain anonymous, the ruling "is equal to banning us in Kyrgyzstan."

    "If we are found by the NSS secret police, the ordinary police, or any other state agency to be carrying out 'illegal' religious activity, we will be given harsh punishments - maybe even imprisonment."

    As such, "this is a severe violation of our basic human rights, and also a potential danger in future for our lives in Kyrgyzstan," he added.

    Kyrgyzstan has about 5.4 million people. The official religion is Sunni Islam (about 70 per cent of the population). According to local sources, the Ahmadi community has about 600 members and many supporters.

    Founded in the late 19th century in India, the Ahmadi faith is considered heretical by much of the Muslim world, Sunni and Shiite.

    It honours its founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, and shares beliefs with other religions. For this reason, professing it in Central Asian countries is banned and linked to Islamic terrorism.

    For their part, Ahmadis vehemently deny these allegations and speak of religious persecution.

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    See also

    15/02/2006 INDIA
    Compulsory marriage registration to be introduced
    Marriage registration should become compulsory within a few months in India. Under existing rules, proof of marriage ceremony was enough. The Indian Church backs the new rule, but demands it applies to all religions. Human rights activists hail the law: it will help eliminate practices such as polygamy, forced marriages and trafficking in women.

    01/10/2015 KYRGYZSTAN
    Kyrgyz elections: despite politicians wooing Christian voters, “friendship” might not survive the poll
    As Kyrgyz prepare to cast their ballots this Sunday, candidates visit parishes and churches for support, as the country’s deputy prime minister did last Sunday, when he visited Bishkek’s Catholic church. Since religious communities must register, the country’s only three Catholic parishes might be de-registered because of new rules. Violent episodes have marked the current campaign.

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