LOVE KYRGYZSTAN OR LEAVE IT
Kyrgyzstan’s government recently launched a banner campaign against Islamic clothing:
One side shows women wearing the traditional nomadic clothing of Kyrgyzstan, the other shows women in niqabs and burkas, the full veils worn by some Muslim women. The caption underneath said: “Poor people! Where are we heading to?”
President Almazbek Atambayev, whose country is 80 per cent Muslim, now defends that campaign – and takes matters a step further:
“Our women have been wearing miniskirts since 1950s, and they never thought about wearing an explosive belt.
“You can wear even tarpaulin boots on your head, but do not organise bombings. This is not religion. Let them wear even miniskirts but there must not be any blasts.”
He portrayed the wearing of some Islamic clothing as not only out of step with contemporary Kyrgyz national culture but also potentially dangerous.
“Terrorists are insane people,” he said. “Clothes also can change one’s thoughts sometimes. When we were searching for prisoners who had escaped a detention centre, Melis Turganbayev (the former interior minister) came to me and said that they had been eavesdropping on telephone conversations of wives and mistresses of criminals. Their wives and mistresses wore sacks on their heads and they wanted to organise bombings.
“If you do not like Kyrgyzstan you can leave our country and go wherever you want. We can pay your travel expenses, even to Syria.”
Well said, sir.