Some Facts about Central Asian Republics
[information from Impact International]
The people of Uzbekistan, Turkmenia, Kazakstan, Kirghizia, Azerbaijan
and other Central Asian Republics have a brilliant and glorious
history. Many of the great scholars were born, bred, and educated in
these lands: Imam Bukhari, al-Tabari, Ibn Sina,
al-Farabi (a well known Muslim philosopher who mastered,
perhaps too much, the thinkers of Athens), Abu Zayd al-Dabusi
(the great Hanafite jurist from "land beyond the River Oxus" in
Samarkand), al-Bayruni (a multi-faceted scholar who laid the
foundation for modern geology and astronomy, gifting the world with an
accurate method to determine latitude and longitude, investigated the
relative speeds of sound and light, and -- 600 years before Galileo --
discussed the possibility of the earth rotating around its own axis),
and many others like al-Maturidi, Abu Layth al
Samarkandi, al Shashi, and al-Nasafi. It is a great
source of anxiety and disturbance, however, to reflect on the
historical illiteracy prevalent regarding the Islamic legacy in
Central Asia. Following are some facts about Central Asian Republics:
- In 1917, there were 30,000 mosques (estimated). In 1943, only
1,200 remained standing. In 1959 Khrushchev kicked off a second wave
of mosque demolition. In five years, nearly all village mosques were
destroyed. When "public image" entered the Soviet lexicon of the
Soviet leadership, a few cosmetic concessions were made. Last year
only 25 Soviet Muslims were permitted to make their Pilgrimage.
- Reckless disregard for the health of the Muslim Turkic
population... In Uzbekistan, public discontent has focused on a
Kremlin-imposed policy that called for massive use of Agent Orange
type defoliants on cotton crops. One Uzbek candidate in the March
(89) election for a new Supreme Soviet blamed the region's staggering
25% infant mortality rate on the defoliants.
- In recent years, there has been a steady rise in arrests of Turkic
people who have been charged with distributing "religious literature"
including the Qur'an.
- A significant amount of the Soviet's nuclear arsenal is in
Azerbaijan. These regions are extremely rich in natural sources, in
fact the richest lands in USSR. The regions possess world class
deposits of oil, natural gas, coal, iron ore, and hydrocarbon sources.
Bygones are bygones... We have to look at what we have now. If we
look at the capacity of these lands and people today, I am very
optimistic for the future. What we need is a young generation of high
quality people and a new leadership. We need leaders who trust
themselves, their people, and their heritage only...
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