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Fresh blood to boost Kazakhstan's Muslim community: experts

21 февраля 2013, 15:42
Political expert Rassul Zhumaly. Photo by Yaroslav Radlovskiy©
Political expert Rassul Zhumaly. Photo by Yaroslav Radlovskiy©
Religious expert Yesbossyn Smagulov. Photo courtesy of megapolis.kz
Religious expert Yesbossyn Smagulov. Photo courtesy of megapolis.kz
Lack of professional imams and low level of educational work are the main problems of the Spiritual Management of Muslims of Kazakhstan, Tengrinews.kz reports citing political expert and orientalist Rassul Zhumaly and religious expert Yesbossyn Smagulov as saying.

Smagulov believes that election of the new Supreme Mufti (Yerzhan Mayamerov) will give a boost to the work on improvement of theological education of imams. "The general problem lays in a low level of personnel and insufficient number of imams," the speaker said. "And if the new muftiyat will focus on raising the religious literacy of religious leaders and population, this will give a boost to development of this area," Smagulov says.

He notes that Kazakhstan has 2,500 mosques, but much less imams with higher Islamic education.

"The muftiyat has to be more mobile, more focused on the needs of the community and closer to the common people. However, I wouldn't say that all this was missing (when Derbissali was the Supreme Mufti). I suppose that Kazakhstan's Muslim community will get a new burst with the 'fresh blood'," the expert says.

In his turn, Rassul Zhumaly says that the new head of the Spiritual Management of Muslims of Kazakhstan has to be tasked with expansion of its activities and improvement of their quality. Zhumaly believes that the spiritual management should not focus on ceremonial elements of the religion or on sacrifices. "All these are important things, but I have an impressions that the official spiritual management is too busy with these issues. Holding religious ceremonies and distributing press-releases about them are, in my view, not the most important part of the religion. I think that people's education is more vital," Zhumaly says.

Besides, the speaker notes that it is necessary to perform more work in the regions and not only in major cities. "For example, our spiritual management visits prisons very rarely. Those who are put under restraint are spiritually weak. It is often the case that convicts leave prisons after servicing their sentences but remaining compete criminals, and I believe that this is a backlog of ideological and religious authorities," the speaker says. He believes that too few work is done to explain the basics of Islam that is traditional for Kazakhstan and the work that is done is of very low level. This manifests itself in the increasing numbers of followers of foreign religious trends and different sects, Zhumaly notes.

On February 19 Yerzhan Mayamerov was elected new Supreme Mufti of Kazakhstan. This position was earlier held by Absattar hajji Derbissali. It is known that Derbissali's further activities will be related to scientific and educational work.

By Linda Buran

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