BISHKEK. According to the head of the State commission for religious affairs in Kyrgyz government, Omurzak Mamayusupov, there are 260 religious organizations officially registered in the country. About 80 percent of the population consists of Muslims (Sunni branch). They have more than 1,000 officially registered mosques in the country. However, according to unofficial data, there are hundreds of unregistered mosques built, mainly, with financial help from external sources. The Kyrgyz and other central Asian secular governments are trying to suppress underground Khizb-i-Takhrir party members who are distributing their leaflets, mainly, in the South. The Kyrgyz Constitution does not allow any religious party to be established and to operate in Kyrgyzstan. (Its article 8 says that " the formation of political parties on religious grounds is not allowed. Religious organizations must not pursue political goals and objectives").
The second largest religious community belongs to Orthodox Christians. During the 1990s several new confessional groups, including Krishnaism, Munism, Protestantism, Jehovah witnesses, Buddhism and others have been officially recognized by Kyrgyz authorities. One of the new streams is Falun Gong, prohibited in neighboring China. Recently there were some misunderstandings between the Kyrgyz Muslim community and new converts to Christianity in the remote Naryn region.
Compiled and translated by Tyntchtykbek Tchoroev
and edited by Charles Carlson in Prague