TASHKENT:The first specialized academy of higher learning in Uzbekistan devoted exclusively to Islamic studies has been registered by the Justice Ministry in seemingly more evidence of a growing embrace of religious values.
The government’s religious affairs committee said that the Justice Ministry officials formally handed credentials to the chairman of the state-sanctioned Spiritual Directorate of Muslims of Uzbekistan, grand mufti Usmankhan Alimov, and the rector of what is to be dubbed the Islamic Academy, Nematulla Ibragimov.
President Shavkat Mirziyoyev in mid-December signed off on the legislation required for the creation of the academy, which is being founded under the auspices of the Spiritual Directorate of Muslims of Uzbekistan.
Ibragimov’s background is Arabic studies. He has formerly worked at the Tashkent State Institute of Oriental Studies.
The Islamic Academy will offer two-year undergraduate degrees and three-year doctoral courses. Uzbek citizens and foreigners alike can apply. The main disciplines will be Koranic studies, Islamic law, study of the hadiths — the words and actions of the Prophet Muhammed — and the interpretation of Islamic texts.
The academy has already enrolled 16 undergraduates for its 2018-2019 academic year.
Ravshan Nazarov, a historian, said he believes that Uzbekistan is sorely lacking in well-trained theologians and that the Islamic Academy would provide a timely remedy.
The fulsome praise coming the religious affairs committee, which has described the academy as a “great gift for believers in our country,” suggests that instruction will be hewing very closely to the state-mandated orthodoxy, however.
Yakub Bukharbayev, an imam and a teacher at the Islamic Institute in Tashkent, one of two institutions in Uzbekistan authorized to trains clerics, said that the country’s archives contain tens of thousands of Islamic manuscripts that need to be studied. Graduates of the Islamic Academy can be enlisted into pursuing that goal, he said.
“Before in Uzbekistan we didn’t even offer scientific degrees in Islamic studies. We have a native of Bukhara, [9th century Islamic scholar] Imam al-Bukhari, who is the author of hadiths. And we have have the works of another great fellow countryman, a scholar of the hadiths and Islamic jurist, Imam at-Termezi, who has also not been sufficiently studied,” Bukharbayev said.
Islamic education is, after many years of neglect under the late President Islam Karimov, who regarded devout Muslims with intense suspicion, beginning to earn more attention from the Uzbek authorities.
In May, the country’s oldest madrassa, the 16th century Mir-i Arab in Bukhara, was upgraded to a higher education institution — from a college for upper secondary education — becoming the second establishment of its type in Uzbekistan, along with the Islamic Institute in Tashkent.
Mir-i Arab was the only madrassa allowed to operate in Soviet times and turned out many students who would go on to become major figures in their own regions. They included the chairman of the Council of muftis of Russia, Ravil Gainutdin, the Grand Mufti of the Caucasus, Allahshukur Pashazadeh, and even the former head of the Chechen Republic, Ahmad Kadyrov, father of the current incumbent, Ramzan Kadyrov.
In addition to the two institutions of Islamic higher learning, Uzbekistan has nine
Uzbek President instructs to develop Institute of Chemistry of plant substances
Uzbek leader got acquainted with activities of this enterprise, inspected herbal substances developed by scientists of Uzbekistan.
Shavkat Mirziyoyev noted that the medicinal substances are an essential component for pharmaceutical industry, noted the need for deep processing of plants, constant scientific research with the study of achievements of world science. The President gave instructions on drafting a resolution on development of the Institute of Chemistry of Plant Substances.
Uzbekistan, US discuss development of cooperation
At the meeting substantive discussion took place on promising areas for further development of bilateral cooperation in various fields.
It was emphasized that Uzbekistan is strongly committed to carrying out large-scale reforms and policy of openness, full compliance with the fundamental human rights and freedoms.
The sides have confirmed mutual interest in continuation of Uzbek-American multidimensional dialogue on a constructive basis.
The meeting was attended by the U.S. Ambassador Pamela Leora Spratlen.
ID-cards may be used as internal passports in Uzbekistan
TASHKENT: Current bio-metric passports used by Uzbekistani citizens may be kept as travel documents while ID cards may be introduced for use within the country, suggests a draft of the State Program “Entrepreneurship, innovative ideas and technologies” for the year 2018.
According to the Uzbek media, a decree should be ready by end of April 2018 and a state order is to be introduced by mid-summer 2018 (July 1). The proposal is part of the strategy attempted at aiding Uzbek citizens to travel free of a two-year travel permit issued by the authorities. Uzbekistan’s public and foreign observers have repeatedly called for a ban of such practice. Last year, the government stated that permit stickers would be abolished and new travel passports would be introduced instead.
However, it was not long ago when Uzbekistan citizens had to exchange their previous national passports and obtain biometric passports to travel abroad. These were made obligatory for all travels out of the country since July 2014 and the passports still require a permit sticker to allow their owners to exit the country.
Social media users in Uzbekistan and beyond are hopeful that no new passports would be necessary for foreign visits. According to many, retaining the current biometric documents and abolishing the so-called “exit-visa” stickers would be the best solution for travellers.
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