Uzbek expert concerned by growth of support for Ahmadiya in Kyrgyzstan

Tashkent, Uzbekistan - The growing number of supporters of the Ahmadiya religious movement in Kyrgyzstan may have a negative effect on relations between various religious groups in Uzbekistan, Uzbek expert Aktam Zhalilov told journalists on Thursday.

"Registering this religious community in Kyrgyzstan will doubtlessly result in a split of the Muslim community in the country and have a negative impact on the Muslim community in Uzbekistan. Moreover, representatives of religious extremist organizations that have joined it may use this organization to cover their activities," he said.

"Steps to encourage supporters of the Ahmadiya Islamic religious movement in Kyrgyzstan, which is looking for more supporters, may entail unpredictable consequences, including in Uzbekistan," the expert said.

Zhalilov quoted Ahmadiya's representative in Kyrgyzstan Taalaibek Osmonov as saying that the organization had received the local Justice Ministry's permission to conduct its activities.

"They are planning to step up their propaganda campaigns in the country's south, where Islamic sentiments are totally different from those in the center. The authorities of Kyrgyzstan can either support this or simply ignore them, which will give rise to a new upswing of tension based along religious lines," the analyst said.

"Uzbekistan cannot stay indifferent to it because it is a predominantly Islamic country," Zhalilov said.

Islamic theologians have condemned the movement's interpretation of Islam's visions and the tasks set to its followers.