President Almazbek Atambayev (right) said women in his country had been wearing short skirts for decades ‘and none of them thought about wearing an explosive belt.’ Kyrgyzstan isn’t the only former Soviet bloc country that has put restrictions on the practice of Islam, despite having Muslim majorities.
The SUN (h/t Liz) “Women who wear full Islamic garb are more likely to become terrorist suicide bombers,” Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayeva Central Asian leader has claimed.
The premier was making the comments to journalists during a national debate on cultural identity in Kyrgyzstan, where 80% of the population is Muslim. President Atambayev attacked those who criticise females for wearing less traditional clothing.
The debate was held amid weeks of controversy over government-sponsored adverts in the capital Bishkek encouraging women not to wear orthodox Muslim items such as the hijab, niqab and burka.
The hoardings showed contrasting photos of women in traditional Kyrgyzstan clothing alongside those in Islamic veils. The caption reads: “Poor people! Where are we heading to?”
President Atambayev said: “When we erected banners some smart people appeared and started pointing at miniskirts. “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 organize bombings. “This is not religion. Let them wear even miniskirts but there must not be any blasts.”
The president described the wearing of Islamic dress as potentially dangerous. He said. “Terrorists are insane people. “Clothes also can change one’s thoughts sometimes.
“When we were searching for prisoners who had escaped a detention centre, Melis Turganbayev [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 organize 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.”
In 2014 President Atambayev said that he had a problem with the “Arabization of society [and the] deprivation of the Kyrgyz nation of its language and traditions”.