Crime & Justice

Kazakhstan labels Kyrgyz religious group Yakyn Inkar as extremist

By Ksenia Bondal


A screen shot from a July 23 Current Time video story about Yakyn Inkar members in Kyrgyzstan shows Baktygul Abdrakhmanova with her face covered as she talks with state agencies during a visit to her home. Baktygul and her husband Jergal were sentenced to three years in prison each for refusing to allow their children to attend school. [File]

ALMATY -- Kazakhstan has joined Kyrgyzstan in designating banned Kyrgyz group Yakyn Inkar as an extremist organisation.

Kyrgyz authorities earlier labeled Yakyn Inkar, which means "Rejection of all worldly things besides God", as extremist in June 2017.

On October 10, the Esil District Court in Astana approved the Kazakh General Prosecutor's Office's request to recognise Yakyn Inkar as an extremist group and its activities as illegal.

Any participation or financing of Yakyn Inkar's activities will lead to criminal liability, according to the ruling.

An example of religious extremism

Yakyn Inkar is a wing of Tablighi Jamaat, an international Sunni Muslim missionary movement that is also considered extremist in Kazakhstan, according to the General Prosecutor's Office.

Tablighi Jamaat has been banned since February 2013.

Adherents of Yakyn Inkar categorically deny the right of other religions to exist and predict an unavoidable conflict with them -- beliefs that fall under the definition of religious extremism, the General Prosecutor's Office explained.

"The goal of [Yakyn Inkar] is to create a 'caliphate' ... in Kazakhstan, which intends to change the constitutional system and violate sovereignty by force," the office reported October 2.

Some Kazakh members of Yakyn Inkar were sentenced to imprisonment for extremist activity by the Astana District Court in April, the office said, adding that the case established that members of the organisation planned to create cells in Kazakhstan.

Preachers of Yakyn Inkar distort Islam and, as a result, believers often fall into the ranks of terrorists, according to Asylbek Izbairov, director of the Institute for Geopolitical Studies in Astana.

Such leaders also demand 40-day and year-long missions for followers of Yakyn Inkar, which often leads to a break in family ties and divorces, Izbairov told Caravanserai.

In addition, followers of the organisation are allowed to take new wives in the places they reside and then divorce them when it comes time to move somewhere else, he said.

Denying children an education

In one case involving Yakyn Inkar in Kyrgyzstan, several parents who are members of the group forbade their children from attending school in Issyk-Kul Province, according to a July 23 report by Current Time, an online television project backed by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Voice of America.

Baktygul Abdrakhmanova, one of the mothers, told Current Time that she would only allow her children to attend a madrassa because Kyrgyzstan's constitution does not correspond to Sharia law.

Baktygul and her husband Jergal were subsequently sentenced to three years in prison each for their failure to meet parental obligations, Current Time reported. Kyrgyz authorities convicted two other families on similar charges.

Jergal is already in a penal colony. Baktygul will serve her sentence as soon as her youngest child turns 14, according to the report.

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