07/19/2021, 09.31
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Biškek: A fatwa to boost vaccination against Covid

by Vladimir Rozanskij

Kyrgyz Ulema: it does not contradict the norms of Islam. Inoculations with the Chinese vaccine Sinopharm begin. To date the government had been in denial about the virus. The pandemic is compounded by the problem of refugees fleeing Afghanistan.



Moscow (AsiaNews) - The ulema of Kyrgyzstan yesterday confirmed the fatwa issued a few days earlier calling on all Muslim believers to receive the Covid-19 vaccination. The Kyrgyz Mufti Press Office announced that the Council of Ulema met last week and agreed that the vaccination does not contradict the norms of Islam.

"We approve the statement of the Ministry of Health that the vaccine is not harmful, and is the only defence against the spread of the pandemic".

Already in the past few days, the Mufti of the Republic, Zamir Rakiev, and members of the Ulema Council have received the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine. In order to begin mass vaccination, China had sent 1,250 doses of the drug to Kyrgyzstan on 11 July. Until now, the Kyrgyz authorities had maintained a very denialist stance, like other neighbouring countries in Central Asia. There are 738 mobile vaccination points throughout Kyrgyzstan.

According to the latest figures, the total number of coronavirus infections in Kyrgyzstan is almost 150,000, to which must be added the many cases that have been dismissed as 'abnormal pneumonia' and not treated in hospitals.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, according to official figures, 2,143 people have died of the disease in the country. A state of emergency is currently in force in Kyrgyzstan, with varying measures of restriction and isolation.

The religious administration of Kyrgyz Islam has also cancelled street parties for the Eid al-Adha festival, which this year falls on 20 July. The religious authorities have made it clear that prayers in mosques for the "festival of sacrifice" or "throat-cutting", known here as Kurban-Ayta or Kurban-Bayram, will be held "under conditions that respect health and epidemiological safety measures".

A further problem, in the face of the health emergency, is the delicate situation of the Afghan conflict, which is affecting the entire Central Asian region. Biškek has agreed to take in over 340 ethnic Kyrgyz Afghan refugees from Tajikistan. The foreign ministries of the two countries have approached the regional representation of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, asking for help in evacuating the fleeing Kyrgyz.

In the last few days alone, several hundred Kyrgyz refugees have fled to Tajikistan, taking their livestock with them. Two children died on the way. At the moment, 91 men, 77 women and 177 minors from the Afghan village of Andemin, in the province of Badakhshan, are gathered in a camp in Kyzyl-Rabot, in the Tajik province of Murgabsk.

The Kyrgyz of the Pamir are the descendants of the groups that moved to Afghanistan at the end of the 16th century, with an uninterrupted flow until the Soviet period, and have always lived in rather complicated conditions.

According to the Kabul government, more than two million Afghan refugees have been forced to flee the country since the beginning of the attack by the Taliban (who claim to control 85% of the national territory). Pakistan has made it known that it cannot take in any more refugees, especially in the difficult conditions dictated by the fight against the pandemic.

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