JALAL-ABAD PROVINCE -- The Tashkomur Municipal Court September 26 sentenced Nargiza Tajibayeva, a resident of Shamaldy-Sai in Jalal-Abad Province, to 8 years and 8 months for inciting interfaith strife and organising a women's wing for an extremist organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir.
Authorities found banned religious materials while searching Tajibayeva's residence in December 2015, Dastan Turdukulov, a spokesman for the 10th Division at the Jalal-Abad Province Department of Internal Affairs, told journalists.
"After expert theological review, criminal charges were filed against Tajibayeva in Bishkek and handed over to the court. She was already registered in 2010 as an active member in the organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir, and in 2012 was prosecuted under article 299 of the Kyrgyz Criminal Code ('Inciting national, racial, sectarian, or interfaith strife') and spent two years in prison," he said.
Turdukulov believes that Tajibayeva has not changed her views on life and after being freed in 2014, she began setting up a women's wing in Shamaldy-Sai for the banned organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir.
"Witnesses confirmed that Tajibayeva was calling up religious women and getting them together, sharing with them radical ideas and simultaneously distributing brochures, magazines and leaflets with extremist content among them," he said.
Targeting poorly-educated, socially vulnerable women
According to the Jalal-Abad Province Department of Internal Affairs, out of 31 registered Hizb ut-Tahrir organisation members in Shamaldy-Sai, 16 are women. One of them, a 45-year-old Barchynai Abdullayeva, resident of Shamaldy-Sai, was sentenced to 4.5 years in 2015.
Abdymomun Sabirov, a representative of the Islam Sheyitteri (Followers of Islam) initiative group in Jalal-Abad, said radicals are trying to replenish their ranks with poorly-educated women.
"They study the situation and monitor those in need of social protection," he told Caravanserai. "And girls and young women, who need support, fall under this category. Radicals take advantage of this situation and start helping them financially, gradually drawing them into their ranks."
According to Sabirov, there are cases, when radicals set up peasant farms to draw women to work from socially vulnerable families. They paid them money to gather to harvest and by doing this supported them – after which they found themselves in a trap.
"We repeat everywhere all the time that unemployment and a lack of jobs lead to those kinds of doleful consequences like radicalism," Jamal Urumbayeva, an activist from Jalal-Abad, told Caravanserai.
Financial assistance, jobs to save women from radicalism
To solve these problems, it is necessary to create better conditions for this category of women, provide them with preferential loans or soft financing to start their own businesses, she said.
"Everyone realises that hopelessness and an absence of motivation in life are the bitterest enemies, and recruiters take advantage of this, reinforcing their numbers with fainthearted people. Then they can wind up among the militants in Syria, and these women will be ready to go on a 'sexual jihad', thinking that they are on the right path," Urumbayeva said.
According to her, women from poor families need assistance by furnishing them with the opportunity to prove themselves. Their energy needs to be channeled in the right direction; otherwise, they might be influenced by extremist ideas, she said.