Weekends keep on the hop both Kyrgyz officials and deputies. Two draft laws were discussed at the committee on social policy the day before, providing amendments to the Labor Code of the Kyrgyz Republic. The Ministry of Labor, Migration and Youth declaim against the following holidays: February 23 - Defender's Day, May 1 - Labor Day and 7 November - Great October Socialist Revolution Day. The Member of Parliament Tursunbai Bakir Uulu lobbies for switching of the day off from Sunday... to Friday, saying that the believers have no time for Sabbatical namaz (Salat al juma). Although the initiative is not new, his draft law appeared almost a year ago.
"The majority of population in Kyrgyzstan is Muslims. We don't want to infringe upon somebody's rights, but we want to protect rights of Muslims. I hope you will support the rights of 85 percent of the Kyrgyz population," the initiator reported. His colleagues wondered what other should do. "Never mind! As 85 percent of Muslims have a rest on Saturday and Sunday, you will have a rest on Friday and Saturday. The same two days remains. Nothing changes," Tursunbai Bakir Uulu said, having noted that he agrees if the law will come into effect since 2015-2016. The committee came to conclusion that it is necessary to hold public hearings.
What do you think about the initiative to make Friday a day off? Such question 24.kg news agency asked the respondents.
Tatyana Levina, the deputy of the parliament:
- I think that this question is very delicate. If to make Friday a day off and direct people that this day off is specially for namaz, will it be right? I don't think so. It is too early to raise such question. If to refer to the Constitution, we are secular state. When we will declare our country Islamic, then we can talk about that. But now, won't it be forced? Here the opinions of several deputies are not enough, even of all 120. It will be reasonable to hold public hearings in order people speak out their opinion.
Saturday and Sunday are not just days off, it is end of working week. Children are free from school, parents from their work. The process of communication strengthened family institution. It was found long ago, 70 years in Soviet times and 20 years under sovereignty. What if it is needed to go somewhere on Friday, will it be the process of education as Tursunbai Bakir Uulu has said?
Dzhoomart Otorbayev, the acting Vice Prime Minister:
- The government should take into consideration interests of the society. If the society supports this suggestion unanimously, then everything is possible.
- Are you ready to have a rest on Friday instead of Sunday?
- Well, we got used a little bit, maybe, we will get use for a new one.
Gulnara Tashibekova, the Head of Family Practice Center №17:
- Friday? Lets him do Friday a day off and pray, but what is that to others? Why didn't he ask others and express such statement? Now we should work and work. In my opinion, all holidays should be cancelled. There is a weekend as Saturday and Sunday, marked the Labour Code. Not enough? Our Basic Law stipulates that the KR - a secular state. Don't we live according to the Constitution? I absolutely do not agree with such an initiative.
Ainura Arzymatova, the Doctor of Historical Sciences, Professor:
- Nonsense! How common man can now raise this issue? It is clear that there is no sense in discussing it. Or just wants to draw attention. But it is annoying, to be honest. It's absolutely unreal. Does he live in the Muslim world based on its own calendar and chronology? KR - is secular state. If a person is absent at work for three hours, he must bear some responsibility. Prayer - this is a private matter, it should be said during off-duty hours. Especially Tursunbai Bakir Uulu works in the highest legislative body, where the prayer room was opened. In principle, there should not be such situation. I think it's all just demagoguery and wasting of time. People delegate deputies to solve problems, however they do not know what they are doing.
Orozbek Moldaliev, the Head of the State Commission on Religious Affairs of the KR:
-It's not a very convincing argument. If a member wants to make Friday a day off, then you need to look for another occasion, but not namaz. I also work and go to Juma-namaz - but come back after a prayer to work. We can not for no reason at all to make Friday a day off. There are neighboring countries, which work from Monday till Friday. This will be inconvenient not only for them, but, first and foremost, for us. Another thing, if people are late, then you can make a longer lunch break - an hour or two. Friday prayer lasts only half an hour - from 13.30 to 14.00. Of course, we need more time on the road. Thank God, there are enough mosques in the center of Bishkek. This can be solved individually.
Bakytbek Amanbayev, the Ombudsman of the Kyrgyz Republic:
-The matter of religion is very delicate. In fact, so many people professing Islam. I need to look more closely into this problem, make a comparative analysis of what benefits it will bring to our country. And now, without knowing and understanding the issue, it is really very difficult to say anything.
Alexander Katsev, the Doctor of Philosophy:
-Tursunbai Bakir Uulu believes that he thinks about the people. Periodically our deputies have a borderline state of mind, as psychologists say. It is turned out they one prayer room in the Parliament is not enough for and they built a second one. But their morality hasn't increased. We all think primarily about when to rest. And MPs sit and do nothing. Here is an example. Each year in the spring they plant seedlings. And since nobody waters them, it is a perpetual motion machine. They again plant seedlings every year. Likewise the seats in the parliament. Such active loafers. They sit and with higher levels of power think about making such a thing that has not happened yet. You, guys, think about a person, who drives a minibus, who earns his bread from morning till night!
Is nationality - is a sign of religion? Do we have a secular society or not? Several years ago I complied a dictionary "Folklore of Peoples of Kyrgyzstan" - for 80 nations, and there are about 120 of them. Periodically those, who has seized upon the authorities, say that minorities should feel themselves as in one community. If we are a multinational state, it assumes equality, and if we a mononational country, then we must state about it. But we go to extremes. Religion and faith require privacy.
Gulnara Ibrayeva, the Head of "Innovative Decisions" Public Association:
-I strongly disagree with the initiative. Firstly, we live in a secular state. And, despite the freedom of conscience and religion, everyone should choose an optimal way of life - work for the state or other structures and receive salary not for their prayers during the work, but for precise performance of their functions. And secondly, it is impossible to say how many percent of the population belongs to Islam. The state has never conducted a census, where it would be clear how many percent identify of people identify themselves as Muslims. And it is improperly to ascribe Kyrgyz, Tatars and others to Muslim only upon the birth. I know a lot of people, who choose atheism or other religions. Therefore, to speak on behalf of unresolved categories of people - it's one of the options to manipulate the public opinion.
At the same time the government agencies are constructing prayer rooms, and they called it "namazkana" that leaves no doubt: this house is not for all religions, but for one only. Thus, it is a discrimination of other religious groups on this basis. As long as we are a secular state, such initiatives are unjustified.