Namaz (paying) in the state and public organizations topic is still relevant in Kyrgyzstan. Is it in order to perform religious rites, if they are contrary to the Labor Code? 24.kg news agency presents opinions of experts.
Orozbek Moldaliev, former head of the State Commission for Religious Affairs:
- The Labor Code clearly states that a worker can negotiate over the working conditions with an employer prior to employment. For example, a person may extend a lunch break for an hour on Friday and work off that hour other time. As for the case of a doctor who, citing the need to pray, has not examined a sick child, I would say: doctor must help the kid under the Sharia. The believer is forgiven skipping the prayer time, if it was required by his or her duty.
Kadyr Malikov, director of Religion, Law and Politics analytical center:
- We are a secular state, but this does not mean that we should not take into account the rights of believers of any religious denomination. The absolute majority of the population in our country consider themselves as Muslims. Nothing bad will happen if, to say, on Friday the lunchtime will last two hours. The economy will not be affected for the simple reason that it simply does not exist. It is in the private sector. And the private sector works as it is beneficial for it, it is flexible in this respect. Extension of the work time by an hour in state agencies also will not solve anything. Frankly speaking, when it is needed, the staff simply runs away from work on personal affairs.
The Labor Code in some democratic countries fixes different rest time for the representatives of different confessions. This is normal, and there are no such disputes.
Our disputes are more ideological, rather than legal and it will only lead to artificial collision of the secular and the religious views. Therefore, it is necessary to look for a middle ground, we have to balance and take into account the opinion of the majority.
There are many cries about the loss of secularism. But we did not lose it. Secularism should not be aggressive, not radical, not tainted by the atheistic Soviet Union, but should look like in the European countries.
Secular laws must be neutral, that is to protect the interests of all the believers on the principle of equality. The government must serve the people, find a balance and take into account the rights of all.
One more example. Every year, a festive atmosphere is created at the governmental level on the eve of the New Year. Banners are hung along with illumination, congratulations are voiced...
As for the religious holidays, they are commonplace. Yes, they are marked in red in the calendar, but there are no banners, no illumination, that is a holiday atmosphere is not created. But there should be equal attitude to all.
Almambet Shykmamatov, deputy of the Parliament:
- Doctors should first strictly perform their direct duties and follow the Hippocratic Oath, which obliges the doctor to help the patient. But if he has a good reason (he is sick or needs to perform a religious rite), he must notify the management so that a replacement will be provided. Therefore, in this case, of course, there is a doctor's fault, the profession is such that we can talk about life and death. But there is also a fault of the management of the institution, who allowed such a case.
We also can not ban paying. It is sacred. But it is not right to abuse the religion and push the work into the background. The management should replace a person for a time while one reads the prayer, goes to church or to a Buddhist temple. I consider it irresponsible when the people leave work under the guise of religion.
But I think it is possible to extend the lunch time on Friday up to two hours. If it is banned, it will only increase the opposition between the state and the believers. The main thing is to observe the eight-hour working day. But we should not forget about the rights of non-believers. It is necessary to find a compromise, and do not prohibit it in any case.
Uzarbek Zhylkybaev, deputy of the Parliament:
- I am a Muslim, but do not support those who call for more active intervention of religion in social life and rules. As for the proposal to extend the lunch time on Friday up to two hours, I am against. Why? How in this case we can resolve the issue with those who does not perform religious rituals? Why do they have to work, for example, up to seven in the evening because of the rites by some of the colleagues? Someone needs to pick up the children from kindergartens, schools...
After all, no one bans reading of prayers. There is freedom of religion. We need to find a compromise solution. For example, if instead of 40 working hours a week we have 39 working hours and two-hour lunch time on Fridays, I think that such a decision would have found approval as of the public, so of the trade unions. It is necessary to take into account the rights of all parties.
And what do they have?
Labor relations with believers in different countries are organized in different ways.
- For example, in Iran, where the vast majority of the population are Muslims, Friday is declared a non-working day. This removed the problem with allocation of time for prayer during the workday.
- In the United States, in January 2016, more than a hundred workers, who collectively had gone to pray during working hours, have been fired. The CEO explained the decision by losses due to downtime.
- In Germany, a school teacher was not employed because of wearing a headscarf on religious grounds. She was not going to take it off during a lesson. She sued, but the first two instances of Themis decided in favor of the employer. The explanation was as follows: it is a public school, and the state remains neutral with respect to all religions. If the teacher is allowed to wear a headscarf in class, that is, to demonstrate her beliefs, there would be violated neutrality by the representative of the state institution.