Bahai News - Kazakhstan "target of religious aggression" from Bahai faith - paper

Kazakhstan "target of religious aggression" from Bahai faith - paper

Valeriya Balkina

The spread of the Bahai faith in Kazakhstan represents a danger to the state, since the top echelons of society are deliberately being targeted, the Kazakh newspaper Ekspress K said on 3 July.

Writing in the newspaper, journalist Valeriya Balkina said: "According to the findings of the government commission for religious affairs, 23 Bahai associations have already been registered in our republic. This means that in all Kazakh towns (except for Atyrau [in the west]), there are people who consider the prosperity of this religious association to be more important than the prosperity of their families and the state. It is not ruled out that their numbers could one day reach the critical point when it will be Bahais who take decisions and draw up the country's development policy."

The Bahai faith is disseminated in Kazakhstan by foreigners, mainly US citizens, who play on people's desire to learn English, inviting students along to so-called English language clubs, where, the article said, "the conversation turns not on the weather, films or books but on one wholly specific topic, namely how wonderful life would be if everyone in the world turned to the Bahai faith". Those invited are mainly from multi-ethnic, well-educated and wealthy families, which tend to have no religious or ethnic prejudices and which are open to new ideas, the article went on: "Most Bahais are well-educated and successful people. The question arises of why there is such strict selection if the religion is for everybody? The answer is quite simple. According to the Bahai canons, donations are accepted only from its members. So what is the point of taking care of the poor and unfortunate when there are rich people all around who are ready to give any amount of money to save their soul?"

The Bahai faith preaches equality and nondiscrimination and calls for a complete renewal of human society, from the personal to the political. "Bahais must not join any political party and may not vote in elections. True, they may help a public figure who in the view of the Bahiais best serves society. Given that according to the Bahais' calculations one person in every hundred on the planet is a follower of their faith, it is not ruled out that in the ranks of the authorities there are already people motivated not by the interests of the state but by the interests of this community," the article said.

"So far there have been no big scandals associated with the Bahai faith. No infanticides or terrorist acts have been committed in the name of the Bahais. But does that mean they are so harmless? Is this faith as pure as its followers assert if in our republic it is disseminated through those who study English and have well-lined pockets? And could it happen that alongide the religious 'programming' something else is going on in parallel, controlled from abroad?"

Writing on the same theme in the newspaper on 5 July, Balkina said that the Bahai faith aimed to eliminate amongst its followers "ethnic consciousness, any distinctive mentality, centuries-old traditions and pride in the achievements of one's own people". The end goal, Balkina asserted, was to achieve "one great community of rootless, anonymous individuals with no memory, who are in no way distinguished one from one another". Interviewed for the article, the leader of Kazakhstan's Attan antinuclear movement, Asylbek Amantay-Kazhy, described the Bahai faith as an aggressive political tendency: "The Bahai faith is not a religious trend but a political one, which uses the ideas of belief as a cover for pursuing specific political goals. Kazakhstan has become the target of an offensive, of religious aggression. These sorts of religious sects are in fact continuing a policy of occupation coming from abroad. They are against not only Muslims but members of the Orthodox church as well. They undermine the stability in our country and our people's traditions," he declared.

Summing up, Balkina said that young people were the Bahais' main target. "In this respect, the sect members are much more far-sighted than our current leaders. So it is not ruled out that Kazakhstan's future will be determined by people who have already 'thrown out on the trash heap' the traditional religions and faiths, the national culture and ideals of their forefathers." [p3 and p4]

©Copyright 2001, Ekspress-K (Kazakhstan)
BBC Monitoring Central Asia

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