Positive Muslim News

News about good things Muslims are doing in North America and around the world.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Muslim clerics raise HIV/AIDS awareness


BISHKEK, 14 Oct 2004 (IRIN) - While many Kyrgyz people do not go to mosques regularly, a fair proportion still gather for Friday prayers, particularly in the more traditional south. Recognising this, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Kyrgyzstan has teamed up with the State Commission on Religious Affairs and local Muslim clergy to launch a unique campaign against HIV/AIDS that aims to educate religious leaders about the disease.

"Though this campaign was initiated by the government, the Muslim clergy in Kyrgyzstan realised that HIV/AIDS is a problem not for one person, but the whole nation, and that we can play a role in tackling it," Neimatulla aji Jeinbekov, deputy mufti of Kyrgyzstan, told IRIN in the capital, Bishkek.

According to UNDP statistics, the number of people living with HIV/AIDS in the former Soviet republic is close to 600. Unofficial estimates put the number 10 times higher.


"It is interesting to observe that, when imams talk about AIDS and drugs, people listen very carefully to them," Manas, a 20-year-old who goes to Friday prayers at a mosque in central Bishkek, told IRIN.

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