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Are religious parties possible in Kazakhstan?

13 february 2012, 12:32
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Photo ©AFP
Photo ©AFP
In January 2012 head of the synod of Moscow Patriarchate for Relations between Church and Society arch-priest Vsevolod Chaplin raised a question in his blog: “Is an Orthodox/Christian party possible in today’s Russia?” Back then this topic spurred a fervent discussion in the Russian society. Tengrinews.kz attempted to find out what the representatives of various religious denominations in Kazakhstan think about the possibility of creation of religious political parties in Kazakhstan.

As it turned out, all representatives of key religions in Kazakhstan agree that creation of a religious party is not possible.

Chief Mufti of Kazakhstan sheik Absattar kazhi Derbisali believes that political parties in Kazakhstan cannot be religious. He refers to the law “On the political parties” to support his opinion. The law prohibits associations the actions of which may lead to the incitement of religious hatred. Mufti also believes that from the point of view of Islam there is no need for such parties. “Islam does not tolerate the enmity and divide. It says that the strength is in unity,” Derbisali explained.

According to him, creation of religious groups among existing political parties is not possible either. “It is outlawed by our Constitution. The law is the same for everyone. One must not instigate disunity among people covering it up with a political party, and even more so one may not try to benefit from divergences among people,” the religious leader specified.

Representatives of the Orthodox Church have a similar opinion. Head of the Orthodox church synod in Kazakhstan bishop Gennadii argued: “Creation of an Orthodox political party in Kazakhstan, or any other political party representing a denomination, is utterly unacceptable, and not advisable for the Orthodox church due to its nature.”

In our opinion, this will encourage division in the multi-religious society and will endanger the peace and accord, which are a precious heritage of our country. The union of religion and politics should be avoided by all means. It is very dangerous when political disagreements gain religious motivation. I am convinced that even within the existing political parties there must not be religious groups. Because if created a religious group will be most certainly attempting to control the entire party,” the bishop says.

A slightly different opinion is expressed by the representative of Judaism in Kazakhstan, rabbi of Astana and Pavlodar oblast Shmuel Karnauh. According to him, the presence of religious leaders as members of the existing parties is quite acceptable. But he believe that creation a wholly religious party is a questionable endeavor. “It seems impossible to me. When religion is mixed with the state and politics, problems start to arise,” the rabbi says.

Another option is creation of a religious organization containing representatives of religious consent institutes like the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan. “The religious groups certainly do care about the public life. The religious union of Kazakhstan would allow the representatives of major denominations who are concerned about the moral state of the country to bring their messages to the attention of the President and other parties. They would be heard. They would be entitled to veto, at least temporarily, the review of those resolutions that infringe on core religious principles. I believe, that would be the ideal solution,” Shmuel Karnauh commented.

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