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Kyrgyzstan Bans New Year Celebrations

Published: 26/12/2012 09:18:16 PM GMT
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BISHKEK - Muslim scholars in Kyrgyzstan have issued a fatwa banning New Year celebrations in the country, drawing mixed reactions from residents.“This New Year is not a religious holiday,” Ravshan Eratov, head of the Kyrgy (more)

BISHKEK - Muslim scholars in Kyrgyzstan have issued a fatwa banning New Year celebrations in the country, drawing mixed reactions from residents.

“This New Year is not a religious holiday,” Ravshan Eratov, head of the Kyrgyz Muslims' Religious Administration, told Al-Jazeera website.

“It is not related to Muslims at all.”

Religion Under Siege in Kyrgyzstan

Eratov stressed that Muslims have their own holidays as `Eid Al-Fitr, which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, and `Eid Al-Adha, which marks the end of hajj as well as the Friday weekly prayers.

“Only those are our holidays. The rest is not about Islam," he said.

New Year celebrations are a tradition in the former Soviet Republics, including Kyrgyzstan.

Eratov said the money spent on celebrating the New Year could be used in a better way as helping children and the poor.

Muslims make up 75 percent of Kyrgyzstan's 5-million population.

Around 50,000 people are evangelical Christians and many others are Orthodox Christians.

Division

But the ban has drawn mixed reactions from residents.

“They think people will eat non-Muslim food, or go out to the street to light fireworks and cause harm to each other,” said Svetlana Ibrayeva, a teacher.

“They see only bad things about the New year.

“But I think you can find a lot of good things about the New Year and make a very happy New Year celebration.”

But other Muslims said they would abide by the ban.

“No, if they said it is not allowed according to Shari`ah then it is not allowed,” said 23-year old Ramil.

“It is not even up for the discussion. If it's the case, we'd better oblige the Shari`ah law,” he added.New Year remains an official public holiday in Kyrgyzstan despite the fatwa.

Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net




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