New religious sects worry southern Kyrgyz authorities
Osh [southern Kyrgyz town], 12 January: The situation regarding the spread of new religious sects in the south of Kyrgyzstan requires a law of the Kyrgyz Republic "On religion" to be adopted without delay, appropriate measures stemming from it to be taken and a new article to be added to the Criminal Code of the Kyrgyz Republic providing for criminal penalties for inciting religious enmity and calling for a change in the state system.
A total of 510 mosques have been built in Osh Region since the Kyrgyz Republic achieved independence (there were 10 official mosques in Soviet times).
In addition, two Orthodox churches, one prayer house for the Evangelical Baptist Christians and another prayer house for the Seventh Day Adventists are operating in the Region. Such religious trends as the Baha'i society, the Evangelical and the Presbyterian churches, which depart from the traditions of the Region's people, have made their appearance recently.
Over 554 ministers of [the Muslim] religion are involved in preaching at Muslim mosques. Over the past few years, the Osh Regional state administration has adopted a series of resolutions and orders and has taken steps to maintain stability in society, to strengthen harmony between the different ethnic groups and confessions, and to prevent religious fanaticism and the spread of radical Islamic ideas.
©Copyright 2001, BBC Monitoring Central Asia