Dilmurat hadji Orozov: «Extremists are the people who believe that they alone are correct and revile everything else»
Dilmurat hadji Orozov, Islamic Education Center Director, is convinced that religious matters in Kyrgyzstan are handled by illiterate and corrupt people and that this state of affairs compromises purity of Islam and even national security. Orozov ran the Moslem Religious Administration of the Jalalabad region for nine years. Ferghana.Ru asked Orozov for his views on the religious life in the republic against the background of the campaign against religious extremism.
Dilmurat Orozov: Religious extremism is the talk of the day. If you ask me, extremists are the people who believe that they alone are correct and revile everything else. Even Communists were extremists - from this standpoint.
Ferghana.Ru: It is, however, activists of the outlawed Hizb-ut-Tahrir who are branded as extremists in Kyrgyzstan nowadays. Who are these people? What threat, if any, do they pose?
Dilmurat Orozov: Hizb-ut-Tahrir activists are people who do not understand the first thing about Islam. They have deviated from the true way and become lost. In a word, they conjured up an idea and elevated it to the rank of the only religion. Members of Hizb-ut-Tahrir are usually illiterate and gullible people, easily maneuvered by their leaders. They are people who depend on their leaders, you know. They are displeased with everything, even including the fact that they were born into this world in the first place.
Consider residents of a settlement not far from here, in the Suzak district, for example. They embraced Wahhabi ideas once and abandoned them for some other religious school later on. These days, they join Hizb-ut-Tahrir one after another. It won't surprise me to hear one fine day in the future that they are members of some other sect already... In the meantime, some of them actually threaten religious authorities with physical extermination. I received some such threats too, you know.
Ferghana.Ru: Do you agree with the assumption that the ranks of Hizb-ut-Tahrir have been swelling?
Dilmurat Orozov: No, I don't. In fact, I know a lot of people who quit Hizb-ut-Tahrir. "Joining Hizb-ut-Tahrir, I swore to serve Islam within its ranks only. Am I a renegade now?" they invariably ask. They have to be explained that they were misled and deceived, and that eases their apprehension. I'm convinced that Hizb-ut-Tahrir should be viewed - and treated - as a political force rather than a religious organization.
Ferghana.Ru: Is this political force (if that's what you believe it is) well organized?
Dilmurat Orozov: These people never miss a chance to remind society of their existence and gain political mileage. They do not even balk at outright deception. We organized a Moslem celebration once and officials of local power structures chose to attend it. Some Hizb-ut-Tahrir activists attended it too. They brought cameras with them, filmed the celebration, and circulated the tape later claiming that representatives of power structures had attended a celebration they (Hizb-ut-Tahrir) organized. Can you imagine it? Their sense of morals never prevents them from doing what they think is needed to promote their interests.
Ferghana.Ru: But they complain that the authorities do not permit them to celebrate...
Dilmurat Orozov: What authorities? The state made two Moslem holidays off days. Leaders of the state (not to mention regional leaders) always congratulate the believers on these days and even attend celebrations. What we refuse to put up with is Hizb-ut-Tahrir's insistence on announcing that the celebrations are organized by its activists alone. These are festive days for all Moslems and not for disciples of any single school.
Ferghana.Ru: What do you think of Hizb-ut-Tahrir's ultimate objective? Establishment of a caliphate in the region?
Dilmurat Orozov: This generation has been saying the caliphate is nearly established for the last fifteen years, so far as I know. Founders of this religious school made the same speeches 50 years ago. Where is this caliphate? It's an Utopia, an impossible idea that does not concur with the theory of development of Islam.
Ferghana.Ru: And what is your opinion on the demand to open school for Moslem girls put forth by Hizb-ut-Tahrir?
Dilmurat Orozov: Who is supposed to open then? What will girls be taught there? Who will teach them? Has anyone I don't know of perhaps written a single textbook for schools like that?
I'm not against this idea as such. It's not as of somebody was withholding permission to open schools like that, you know. The state does not object. There is a Turkish lyceum for boys and another for girls in every district of Kyrgyzstan. How come the Turks opened them and Hizb-ut-Tahrir is only talking and demanding and promoting the necessity?
As a matter of fact, level of education is a pressing issue even for religious figures themselves. We have 500 imams in mosques throughout Kyrgyzstan but only a dozen of them will pass a even moderately rigorous exam. Specialists in the Islamic law or Fikh are not to be found anywhere for love or money. Religious administrations are run by the illiterates who bought their way to these positions. I personally know one of them in the Jalalabad region who boasts of a diploma allegedly received in Uzbekistan even though everyone knows that the man was actually here in Kyrgyzstan when he was supposed to be studying Islam in Uzbekistan. The people whose job it is to offer the faithful alternatives to all these schools that have little to do with pure Islam... these people do not care about the faithful. They are too busy with their own affairs to care about anybody else's. That is how emissaries of various sects and schools end up in the country and in the region.
Ferghana.Ru: The authorities seem determined to stiffen the laws on religion, and activists of religious organizations fear that the new legislation will restrict their freedom to worship...
Dilmurat Orozov: I have no objections to a stiffer legislation. It will merely show that the people in the upper echelons of state power care about our faith. These days, we regularly hear of conflicts when a member of some Moslem family decides to embrace a different religion. Homes get broken, families fall apart. Non-traditional religious schools came here fifteen years ago. What are our muftis and imams doing?
On the other hand, very many people who call themselves faithful behave in an infamous manner. As a matter of fact, it is disillusionment and disappointment fomented by their behavior that often compels people to abandon Islam, the faith of their forebears.
Ferghana.Ru: Your views are somewhat... extraordinary, you know. What if someone called you an extremist too?
Dilmurat Orozov: There is such a thing as pluralism. If somebody disagrees with me, he is welcome to come up and say where he thinks I'm mistaken. I will only welcome a dispute. All religions stand for goodness. I pray that our rulers do not forget justice. We will all end up in identical shrouds because we are all Moslems. There are no special shrouds for the wealthy and the powers-that-be. We are all equal before Allah.