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Kazakh professor asks Nazarbayev to protect a Sufi mausoleum from religious fanatics20 ноября 2014, 20:18

The Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmet Yasawi. Photo courtesy of khabar.kz The Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmet Yasawi. Photo courtesy of khabar.kz

Professor of Gumilyov Eurasian National University has addressed President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev asking him to pay close attention to the fate of the Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, which he believes is under threat of being destroyed by religious fanatics, Tengrinews reports citing Kursiv.kz.

Professor Dosay Kenzhetayev published his appeal on Abai.kz website. He claimed that the ideas of radical Islam, in particular Wahhabism, have been spreading among the Kazakh youth and could lead to religious instability in Kazakhstan and vandalism of cultural monuments.

In his letter Kenzhetayev drew attention to a video circulating in social networks that tells that "Shaitan knocks the man astray with the main weapon of polytheism." All this is accompanied by a picture of burning Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi.

"The Kazakh youth poisoned with Wahhabi ideas is targeted with a campaign that purports the arrival of "pure Islam" to Kazakhstan after  destruction of the “Yasawi grave”. This is a Wahhabi trend, since Wahhabis accept Sufism as heresy," Kenzhetayev said.

Sufism is an ascetic, mystical branch of Islam, and is one the major directions of classical Islamic philosophy. Yasawi was a prominent Turkic Sufi of the 12th century who significantly influenced the spread of Sufism throughout the Turkic-speaking world. He is also the earliest known Turkic poet composing in a Turkic dialect.

To honor the memory of the Sufi, Tamerlane ordered the construction of what is now known the Mausoleum of Khoja Akhmet Yasawi located on the south of present-day Kazakhstan. It on the UNESCO World Heritage List as a spectacular example of Timurid architecture that influenced the development of Islamic architecture.

Kenzhetayev explained that certain Wahhabi sects were trying to depict Sufism and Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, a representative of this philosophy, as “opposition to Islam”. Kenzhetayev added that this was the same sect that contributed to “zombification” of young Kazakh men who decided to join the jihad in Syria.

Aidos Sarym, editor of Abai.kz, where the letter was published, in a commentary to Kursiv explained that he decided to go ahead with the letter due to the urgency of the issue, since it was not only about preservation of the centuries-old monument but also about the threat posed to the national security of Kazakhstan by radical movements.

He stressed that professor Kenzhetayev was one of the best specialists on religion, history and culture in Kazakhstan and was genuinely troubled by the fact that Wahhabis wanted to introduce a completely “Arab vision of religious celebrations and the system of values”.

Sarym likened the calls to destroy the mausoleum of Khoja Akhmet Yassaui to what the Islamic State is now doing in Iraq – destroying mosques and tombs.

“Such events need to be known and talked about so that it is not a sudden revelation to us that these ideas are spreading among our young people. And the government also needs to know about it. We only wonder post factum why there was a terrorist attack somewhere or why Kazakhstanis went to fight in Syria," the editor said.

By Dinara Urazova 

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