ENSURING SOCIAL STABILITY,
SAFEGUARDING PURITY OF OUR SACRED
RELIGION IS AN IMPERATIVE OF TIME
Assalamu-alaykum, dear compatriots!
First of all, allow me to express my pleasure of seeing you in these great sacred days – in the month of Ramadan and express to all of you my high respect and esteem.
Today we have gathered in this magnificent hall to discuss an important issue with you – the religious figures, men of science and culture, and representatives of public who have a profound respect and esteem among our nation.
I believe there is no need to speak more about the fact that the issue put forward in the agenda, i.e. further development of social and spiritual sphere, strengthening the healthy atmosphere in our families, makhallas and entire society, the task of upbringing the youth, safeguarding our peaceful and tranquil life, as well as purity of our sacred religion are now acquiring ever enormous significance.
Since, it is well-known that these very issues will define our both today and tomorrow, the fate and the future of our children and grandchildren, speaking in a word, will determine our survival.
Prior to speaking about these issues that make each and every soberminded person to engross in deep thoughts, feel concerned and alarmed, I believe it would be expedient to briefly dwell on the large-scale work, programs and projects being implemented now in this direction in our country.
Certainly you are well aware that at present with a view of taking Uzbekistan’s progress up to a new level the Action Strategy for Further Development of the Republic of Uzbekistan in 2017-2021 was adopted and now the active work is being accomplished in terms of its implementation.
It should be noted that this Strategy is deeply penetrating each sphere and branch of our life and has been turning into a standard of our practical activities. Especially, it is profoundly important in terms of announcement of 2017 in our country as «The Year of Dialogue and Human Interests».
As practical steps in this direction, the Public Receptions and Virtual Receptions (over the Internet) of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan were established.
It should be underscored that for over the short period of time these structures are turning into an institution playing an important role among our people in terms of lawfully tackling the citizen’s needs and demands.
Since launching the Public Receptions and Virtual Receptions (over the Internet), during the past period nearly 890.000 citizens from around the nation have filed their appeals. 93 percent of them were studied and have been relevantly addressed.
The rest of the appeals are now being scrutinized by specialists. It should be especially emphasized that almost 80-90 percent of appeals addressed by our citizens are justified and pertinent. The analysis shows that they are unaddressed problems long-delayed for many years.
All of them, if to speak frankly, demonstrate that officials of various ranks – both senior and lower level, as well as employees of state and economic entities have almost forgotten to converse with the people, and to what extent this issue stands out acute in our society.
In this regard, I would like to emphasize once again: ensuring the dialogue with people and human interests is not a temporary campaign, but a priority direction of state policy. This issue will always remain in the focus of our attention.
It should be noted that another important institution in this direction – the Office of the State Adviser to President for Protecting Citizens’ Rights, Supervising and Coordinating the Work with Appeals of Physical and Legal entities was established.
You are also well-aware that at present the officials of this Office are organizing the field sessions at the local level – the Republic of Karakalpakstan, regions and the city of Tashkent. Along with the representatives of local bodies of governance they are considering the citizens’ appeals and addressing them in a lawful manner.
Certainly, one can speak a lot about this. However, our work, all our reforms are aimed at great and sole goal, i.e. safeguarding peace and tranquility of our nation, raising the people’s well-being and bring up our children healthy and harmoniously mature persons.
Today we need to thoroughly analyze our work being accomplished in this direction, critically assess them and define the urgent tasks awaiting their resolution.
You are well-aware that Uzbekistan is multinational and multifaith state. At present, the representatives of more than 130 nationalities and ethnicities are residing in our country as one family in accord and mutual consent. No doubt, the traditions of tolerance and magnanimity, which pertain to our people from of old, are playing an important role in this regard.
I would like to make the following example as a historical confirmation of this truth. The mausoleum of the Prophet Daniel, which was built during the time of Sakhibkiran Amir Temur in Samarkand, is equally revered by those who profess Islam, Christianity and Judaism.
For many centuries our people have been safeguarding this sacred venue, taking care of it and showing a respect and esteem to it.
This example alone pinpoints to the fact that nobility, benelovence and true magnanimity make up the core of our people’s nature and mentality.
Our Constitution and laws provide for equal rights and freedoms for all our citizens irrespective of their nationality, language and religion. They enjoy all opportunities to safeguard and comprehensively develop their own culture, customs and traditions.
The fifth priority direction of the Action Strategy, which we are now implementing, provides for the most important tasks in terms of ensuring the inter-national accord and religious tolerance.
138 national cultural centers are playing an important role in extending the ethnic uniqueness and further harmonizing the inter-national relations in our country.
Recently we have adopted an important decision in terms of taking the activity of these centers up to a new level and with an aim of further developing the cultural friendship ties with foreign countries. According to it, the Committee for Inter-national Relations and Friendship Ties with foreign countries was established on the basis of the Republican International Center.
The objective in turn is to effectively address the urgent issues put forward before the Committee and provide for its due activity.
Since the early years of Independence, a priority attention was accorded to ensuring freedom of conscience. In particular, much work was and is still being accomplished in terms of restoring our sacred religion, national values, memory and heritage of our great saints and bettering their resting places.
I would like to make just some examples for the purposes of comparison.
If about 80 mosques operated in our country during former despotic regime, then at present their number makes up 2042.
During those oppressive years only few people in Uzbekistan did have a chance to make a holy pilgrimage. In the years of Independence more than 5000 our compatriots are making a hajj pilgrimage each year. This year 7200 of our citizens will have an opportunity to make a holy pilgrimage.
For this purpose, all of us must thank Allah Almighty and along with you – dear religious scholars, imam-khatibs and representatives of public should continue the work we have started in terms of studying and propagating history of our religion and heritage of our great scholars and saints.
During recent days, as I travel to the localities and closely learn about the life of our regions, I am coming to believe that we haven’t studied yet in full our country and its peculiar history, culture, great scholars and priceless spiritual heritage.
For example, the great scholar and renowned representative of the Moturidiya teaching, our forefather Abu Muin Nasafiy lived in the land of Kashkadarya. For long he studied in Bukhara and Samarkand and wrote about 15 books on the knowledge of Kalam - the purity of Islamic faith. 1000 years ago in his books he showed a true path for those who had gone astray in religious matters.
We have promised in our election campaign meetings. All of you watched over the television, we have comprehensively bettered the eternal resting place of our great scholar of hadith Isa Termiziy in Sherobod District of Surkhandarya Region.
God Willing, we will establish such a beautiful complex at the mausoleum of our forefather Nasafiym, as well. We will translate and publish the books of this great scholar.
I believe you are well-aware that we have already begun such God-pleasing deeds in Bukhara – in terms of Bakhauddin Naqshband’s resting place, in Tashkent – the Mosque named after Imam Termiziy and Suzuk ota Mausoleum.
Along with this, we need to openly admit that the work on studying and restoring our historical and religious heritage is not well organized at every place.
Recently as I travelled to Bukhara Region, frankly speaking, I felt quite awkward by seeing the famous Mir Arab Madrassah . Certainly, it is unfortunate that this sacred venue, which for many years has been serving the needs of our people and religion, and the one which produced the renowned religious scholars, who gained fame not only in our state, but also throughout the Muslim world, has found itself in poor conditions.
At present, the necessary measures are being implemented to raise the prestige and status of this religious educational institution, improve its material and technical basis, overhaul the local ancient buildings and better the surrounding territory.
From amonst such our noble deeds, at the moment we are working on yet another large project.
It is well-known that our region, and first of all, today’s land of Uzbekistan is considered to be one of the ancient cradles of Islamic science and culture.
With an aim of comprehensively studying such rich historical, scientific and spiritual heritage of our people, broadly promoting it among the world public, and most importantly, revealing in-depth the humane nature of the religion of Islam, we have resolved to establish the Center for Islamic Culture in Uzbekistan to be placed in our capital city of Tashkent.
Since, establishment of such a Center under the slogan «Enlightenment against ignorance» is an imperative of time.
It is envisaged to establish this Center at the territory of famous Khastimom Complex, and exhibit the rich information about the great Islamic scientists, scholars and thinkers, renowned poets and writers, artists and calligraphs, who were born to our land and made an unforgettable contribution to the development of world culture.
The Center, first of all, must be grandiose, magnificent and rare one in terms of architectural and constructional point of view. This complex will combine the museum and library rich with rare exhibits. Along with this, the broad science and research activities will also be carried out here.
The visitors to this venue will be able to learn at a time about both life and activity of tens of brightest minds of Islamic world.
For example, the samples of priceless heritage of such dear and saint persons as Imam Bukhariy, Imam Termiziy, Imam Moturidiy, Abu Muin Nasafiy, Najmiddin Kubro, Makhmud Zamakhshariy, Bakhouddin Nakshband, Khoja Akhror Valiy, such scholars and thinkers as Muhammad Khorazmiy, Akhmad Farghoniy, Abu Raikhon Beruniy, Ibn Sino, Mirzo Ulughbek, Ali Kushchi, Alisher Navoi, Zakhiriddin Muhammad Bobur, such artists as Kamolliddin Bekhzod and Makhmud Muzakhkhib, the scenes of historical cities of their birthplace and activity will be demonstrated through rare exhibits.
A separate sector will be allocated in the exposition to the exhibits pertaining to the life and activity of each and every scholar and thinker considered to be our fellow countryman.
The scale models of architectural monuments built in honor of them in Uzbekistan, the manuscript and print works, the samples of calligraphy, the items of then applied art and other exhibits will be put to show in those sectors.
The Usman Copy of the Holy Quran brought by our forefather Sakhibkiran Amir Temur to our land will be exhibited in the forecenter of this museum illuminating light to the entire hall.
Dear friends, availing myself of this opportunity, I call upon all of you to actively participate in this God-pleasing cause with your proposals and recommendations.
You are well aware that during various times and conditions by a stroke of a fate many rare manuscripts and archive documents related to the history and culture of our land, as well as our religion were taken out abroad. At present, they are being preserved at the funds and museums, scientific and educations institutions of foreign states. Those rare historical items and products of art are considered to be not only a priceless wealth of our nation, but also the large collections of world significance.
For over the recent period some amount of work was accomplished to reveal our cultural wealth being kept in foreign states and comprehensively scrutinize them, and to our best effort return them to our country. However, all of us understand that this work cannot be accomplished based on public means. This issue must be taken up to a state policy.
This endeavor requires attracting relevant financial and organizational resources, and involving the cadres and specialists with high scientific potential to the sphere.
In order to realize this important task, at present we are working on a draft resolution in terms of establishing a certain center at the Cabinet of Ministers.
The main goal behind this idea is to collect even one paper manuscript related to our history, culture and religion and let our people and youth see them, letting them know what great and unmatched heritage we possess and bringing up our children to be worth of this great heritage.
Our work in this direction is raising a keen interest not only in our country, but also in foreign states.
The prestigious international organizations in the world and Islamic communities, as well as people of high respect and authority are expressing their will to cooperate with us in this regard.
You are well-aware that in the course of the Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation held in October in Tashkent Uzbekistan has put forward the initiative to establish the International Scientific and Research Center named after Imam Bukhariy.
During our recent trip to Saudi Arabia a Memorandum of Understanding on this very topic was signed between the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Islamic Development Bank.
The president of the Bank Mr. Bandar Hajjar supported this initiative and said: “The Islamic Development Bank is Uzbekistan’s bank”. It will be true to say that these words reflect a profound respect of the entire Islamic Ummah, Islamic community to the homeland of Imam Bukhariy and his descendants.
At the international summit held in Saudi Arabia, heads of large states, Arab, Muslim countries and the U.S. have especially underlined one particular idea. Namely, they emphasized the necessity to fight the ignorance by enhancing enlightenment, education and upbringing.
It is remarkable that these ideas coincide and correspond to our approach to religious issues. In particular, the President of the United States His Excellency Mr. Donald Trump put forward specific and constructive proposals in this regard.
Our vision is one of peace, security, and prosperity – in this region, and in the world. Our goal is a coalition of nations who share the aim of stamping out extremism. But we can only overcome this evil if the forces of good are united and strong, said the U.S. President.
We certainly welcomed these words said from the rostrum of the Summit. From this point of view, we must elevate to a new level our work in terms developing our social and spiritual life, mobilizing all strength and capabilities of our state and society for this cause. Since, it will be no exaggeration to say that at present there is no single state or society, which would not be concerned by a perilous situation, political and economic crisis reigning across the world.
Especially, the entire humanity is deeply worried about international terrorism, extremism, drug trafficking, religious confrontation, illegal migration, human trafficking, environmental problems, and aggravation of economic misery, unemployment and poverty.
In this extremely complex and dangerous situation all of us must seriously ponder what way to choose, how to maintain peace and tranquility, ensure sustainable development.
Especially, the fact that the people of our nationality are also among those who carried recent out terrorist attacks in various countries raise distress and disappointment among our nation.
Our people who put peace, tranquility and humanness at the top of everything else, strongly condemn such persons and their acts. Our people believe that such persons don’t deserve to be called Uzbek.
At present, we are taking all measures to prevent our youth, especially those citizens, who work abroad with an aim to make an honest earning, from the grips of terrorism and extremism.
Primarily, we are paying special attention to developing the ties of cooperation with neighboring countries. Our goal is not to compete with them, but strengthen the bonds of cooperation, jointly address common problems.
With such an aim, during a short period of time we have visited Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan twice, our visits to the Russian Federation, the People’s Republic of China and Saudi Arabia have been productive, as well.
In the course of a state visit to the Russian Federation we secured an important agreement in the area of labor migration. Our position in this regard is clear: wherever a person is, he must work, support his family, his children. At the same time, he must work honestly and make his earning in legal way. Our state is ready to create all necessary conditions for it.
However, we will deal otherwise with those who want to abuse the created opportunities, act unlawfully, disgrace our nation and country – it will be correct to call them the ingrates. As our great poet Zakhiriddin Muhammad Babur said: “Anyone who is devoted shall find devotion. Anyone, who inflicts pain, shall find a suffering”.
At present, improvement of social and moral climate and people’s living standards, protection of youth from the influence of various religious extremist groups stands as a major task for all of us.
In this regard, I believe it is expedient to reemphasize before you some of my ideas, which I have put forward at the meetings with the activists of Shaykhontokhur District of Tashkent city and Andijan Region.
In many places we promote the initiative to fight ignorance with enlightenment. Those ignorant persons, who go astray under the disguise of the holy religion of Islam, don’t understand or don’t want to understand one thing, i.e. Islam calls only for a radiant life, knowledge, enlightenment and goodness. It never calls for bloodshed, killing or violence. Joining destructive movements, becoming a terrorist by ignoring this truth and being deceived by forged ideas – this is totally unacceptable to the people of Uzbekistan.
Alhamdulillah (thank Almighty God), all of us are Muslims, shouldn’t we be thankful for it and bring up our children as people who appreciate such a blessing?
Our distinguished imam-khatibs have undertaken to impartially serve in the name of God. This is a responsibility and enormous honor. Therefore, who should we ask to promote the healthy way of faith in the first place? You, my dears. Who should we take as an example in this regard? You, my dears.
Therefore, considering your profound knowledge and authority, I want to address you, my dears, entire clergy and our society: help us in maintaining peace and tranquility in our country.
If a young man in your neighborhood joined a destructive religious sect, try to prevent him from the crooked path.
Above all, we need to talk to them, convince them that there is a healthy faith by telling them that this is not the path of our forefathers, urge them to abandon this path, show them the truth and persuade them that no one has ever failed by choosing the way of peace and righteousness. We should convince them by knowledge, intellect and enlightenment, exemplary good deeds. We should convince them by true and impressive examples taken from history and our present day life.
You can certainly succeed in such promotion and awareness-raising.
We shouldn’t immediately declare a stray youngster an enemy, but we should consider him as our own child. Let this child feel that we are concerned about him with our entire soul and heart. Perhaps then they will open up the eyes of their soul and enter the right path…
Delusion of one child is a tragedy for not one family, but the entire society. Above all, the parents, brothers and family members of this child suffer from it. We should help them in such a time. But, unfortunately, we avoid them. We leave them uninvited to our weddings and ceremonies. We call them somebody’s brother or son and thus agitate their hatred even more, turn innocent people into our arch enemies.
What does it entail? Instead being alleviated, the plight exacerbates. It starts to involve other families, as well.
Today, the time has come to put the question squarely.
Our great enlightener forefather Abdulla Avloni said “The noble people accept apologies”. Our nation is a brave and noble one. Our people certainly forgive when someone sincerely apologises and repents. Therefore, at present we forgive so many misguided people and bring them to a righteous path. We return someone to study, someone to work, and someone to profession.
Unfortunately, there are those who remain indifferent and say that “A child, who joined destructive religious sect, is a neighbor’s child, a child from other village or district”. When someone travels abroad and joins extremists, some of our officials stay careless and say that he is not from Ferghana, but from Andijan, not from Kashkadarya, but from Samarkand. Yet that person is the child of Uzbekistan, a citizen of Uzbekistan!
In this regard, I want to especially underline one idea: nationhood will be in place in Uzbekistan, the rule of law will be ensured. Thank God, as Head of State, my strength, knowledge and potential will certainly be sufficient to ensure this. Let no one ever forget this truth.
Our people have a proverb, which goes “If you run after two hares, you will catch neither”. If any official, any imam-khatib thinks that they will be able to please both sides, they are sadly mistaken. We don’t need such hypocrite and deceptive persons.
Islam must be in the heart and conscience of each of us. A person is a real patriot, when he has a strong belief, serves his Homeland with devotion.
If a person has no belief, he is ignorant and treacherous, tries to “play” with both sides, as I have already said, and deviously hopes to come to terms with another regime if this one falls, please know that, we will not tolerate such “tricks”.
Certainly, vicious terrorists and extremists will never back down. They are poisoned to their brain and cells, with their hand in blood. There is no point of talking to them and expostulating them.
In speaking about delusioned persons, our society, imam-khatibs shouldn’t be afraid to advocate for them and come to a district mayor and say “Give this young man a job, a house, he turned out to be a good person, he has been a victim of somebody’s conscienceless and unfairness”.
The officials, who are participating in this meeting today and those who are sitting in the regions, must certainly make relevant conclusions from these words.
To be frank, I lose my sleep when I think of so many young people falling victim to false promises and wasting their lives. Tell me, dear friends, shouldn’t this bitter truth cut through our hearts like a dagger?
Only yesterday these youth, our children were someone’s neighbor, someone’s son, someone’s daughter, or a nephew! When did they make a mistake? When did they choose the crooked path?
Why did we remain ignorant? When, where did we make mistake? When did strangers capture the minds of our children? What did happen that they turned into enemies of their own parents and their own Homeland?
If we don’t prevent this awful misfortune today, mobilize our entire strength against it, tomorrow it will be late.
No person living in our country, caring for his family, for his children’s tomorrow, religious leaders, public figures should remain uninvolved in this question of life or death.
You can see by yourself what is happening in such countries as Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and Libya. What other examples do we need? Shouldn’t these tragedies open up our eyes?
All of us should make conclusions from the wise verses of the Holy Quran, which says: “Do not throw yourself into destruction with your own hands”. Our carelessness, apathy will only entail tragedy and bring calamity to our children, our family and the entire country. Tell me if anyone, who considers himself a man with conscience and belief, will wish for that? Certainly, no.
Our great forefathers said that: “A child is a valuable gift to parents, whose duty is to carefully safeguard it”. And the present day life vividly proves the necessity for us to truly safeguard and protect our children and their destiny.
We are likely to lose this precious gift if we don’t raise our children properly, be aware of their whereabouts and mood every day and every minute, give them knowledge, profession and decent work.
Usually we stay calm thinking that our children are at school, college or working abroad. But enemies are cunningly using our naivety and carelessness. Who are we to blame if our beloved child turns into a weapon in the enemy’s hands? Aren’t we to blame ourselves?
Therefore, we must pay extremely serious attention to education and upbringing at schools, lyceums and colleges, primarily to the issue of attendance.
If any school or university student misses classes with no good reason, both educational institution, family, makhalla and public authorities should raise alert, should be on guard and deem it as an emergency.
Should this control system work efficiently and coherently, we will be able to gain control over the situation and change it for a positive side.
Therefore, we have established the position of a deputy district mayor and deputy head of the district department of interior for working with youth.
I think the time has come to make an addition to the popular slogan among our people in recent years: “Take care of your house yourself” by saying “Take care of your child yourself!”
We must educate misguided youth, and if needed, we must go to correctional facilities and talk to them. As Head of State, I stand always ready to provide practical assistance to sincerely repentant individuals intending to return to the right path, their parents and family.
“Nuroniy” and “Mahalla” funds, Women’s Committee, “Kamolot” Public Youth Movement, law-enforcement bodies and other relevant institutions are directly responsible for this issue and must increase the efficiency of work, move to a completely new system of actions.
Speaking about the most important tasks in this area, I would like to specially underline the following.
First, it is necessary to study the living conditions, the socio-economic situation and the problems of persons of interest and comprehensively analyze the reasons for their radicalization.
Today, the life itself requires the development of specific recommendations and proposals, on the basis of this work, for application in the activities of public and social organizations. If we continue efforts in this direction as before, i.e. if we carry out preventive works after young people join the radical religious organizations, we will never be able to effectively fight this threat.
To be short, we should be farsighted, if necessary, be one step ahead, foresee the tricks of those, who want to harm us and we should blow the first strike, but not them. Then, with all the strength and power, the essence of state and society will manifest itself.
Second, it is necessary to organize training courses for advisors of makhalla committees, prevention inspectors, imam-khatibs and the relevant law enforcement officers for religious, spiritual, moral and ethical education. These courses should familiarize them with the methods of activity of religious extremist and terrorist groups, as well as selfish goals and ideas of these groups.
A specialist, who works with misled persons, whether he is an adviser to the makhalla, imam-khatib or a preventive inspector, should be familiar with the ideas promoted by destructive forces in the first place.
Otherwise, he won’t be able to explain the fallacy of these ideas, their contradiction to our religion and integrity, as well as the interests of our state. In this situation how can a misguided person be convinced to return to a right path?
Third, deputy mayors in charge of the work with youth, public, religious organizations, and women’s issues, should take the initiative in the first place and go to the families of those citizens who followed false promises and harebrained ideas. They should maintain a dialogue with these people, be aware of their daily life, concerns and problems. Their daily schedule should include the meetings with the members of a particular religious movement and reflect specific tasks on addressing the issues of families with spiritual and ethical problems.
If we ignore those who were gulled by false ideas, who can guarantee that tomorrow a foul enemy waiting around the corner would not come and lead them?
At present, insufficient attention has been paid to engaging children of the members of religious extremist movements to social activity, secular way of life, in particular, to professional workshops, arts festivals and sports competitions. This is certainly not satisfactory. It is impossible to bring change by holding one or two formal events. The continuous and systematic work must be carried out in this area on daily and hourly basis. This is the meaning of spiritual life and ideological work. This is not like planting wheat or cotton, when we can say we have sown the seed and just need to sit and wait.
There can never be a vacuum in the sphere of ideology, since the human soul, brain, consciousness never stop from receiving information, thinking and being influenced.
It means that a human being always needs spiritual food. Tell me what happens if he does not receive this food from the environment where he lives or if he is not satisfied with this environment? He slowly starts looking for this food elsewhere. We should not allow this to happen. This is the crucial idea.
In this regard, those people who consider themselves responsible for the society, spiritual and ideological education of youth – be that a makhalla, religious organizations, law-enforcement officers or representatives of creative intellectuals, who have a great power of influence - all of them should especially be active.
Unfortunately, in these matters we remain dormant. Meanwhile, the enemy is doing its work. To some degree, it is even reaching its goals.
Should my words seem harsh or someone feels that they are wrong, please tell me this frankly. I am ready to listen.
One more issue – unless our imam-khatibs do not become a model for others by their high spirituality, behavior and morale, their preaching will have no effect on people.
Objectively speaking, do all our imam-khatibs meet these requirements?
Fourth, it is a high time to increase the responsibility of makhalla chairperson, advisers, district inspectors and imam-khatibs in each makhalla.
On the basis of the Quranic verses, hadiths and life examples, our imam-khatibs should promote among general public the need to preserve peace and tranquility reigning in the country as an apple of an eye, explain that these stability and peaceful conditions should not be taken for granted and that the Islamic religion, which has been purely preserved by our forefathers for thousands of years, categorically opposes any violence, destruction and bloodshed of innocent people.
The Holy Quran instructs Muslims not to be subdivided into groups. Doesn’t it prove that our religion is categorically against subdivision into various groups and misleading people from the righteous path?
Fifth, another important issue that makes us always think is connected with morality, behavior, in a word, worldview of our youth.
Today, the world is rapidly changing. Who feels these changes the most – it is, certainly, the youth. Let the young people be in harmony with the requirements of their time. However, at the same time, they should not forget their origins. The appeal who we are and who are our great ancestors should always echo in their hearts and urge them to be faithful to their origins.
How can we achieve this? We can achieve only by upbringing and educating. However, upbringing and educating does not consist of a school education alone. Now all of us are used to put all the blame on the school.
What about the makhalla, family and general public? The time has come to realize the true essence of the proverb «One child has seven parent-neighbors». It is time to realize and live on the basis of this idea.
Along with this, who is interested in the destiny of youth, especially the unorganized ones today? Who controls who our children talk to, their school attendance?
What factors do cause the increase in the number of hooliganism and crimes among youth, especially teenagers?
It is a bitter truth that some young people are totally forgetting such concepts as kindness and mercy, ethics and morality, such vices as indifference and irresponsibility. The wish to live without working is appearing among them.
Sixth, the systemic establishment of public control in building a strong civil society is the most expedient way. This method has been successfully applied in the world practice.
When does a state successfully fulfill its duties? When there is an effective public control over governance bodies.
Unfortunately, today the influence of public control is not felt in practice. The feeling of dependency is overwhelming among the population. Unfortunately, we can’t completely get rid of the spirit when they say “the state must maintain”.
The National Working Group led by the State Adviser to the President for Cooperation with Social and Religious Organizations is undertaking appropriate measures in all regions in order to address the problems identified upon the results of studying the socio-spiritual state of affairs. However, this is not enough. If we do not unite and solve these problems together, no one from outside will come and solve them for us.
You are well aware how difficult it is to allocate one additional staffing position to any organization. However, thinking about peace and security of our people we have allocated additional staffing positions to the system of internal affairs, “Makhalla” and “Nuroniy” funds, "Kamolot" Public Youth Movement, Women’s Committee, and carried out measures to improve their working conditions.
Now we have the right to expect practical works upon the results of spiritual and enlightenment activities, in particular in terms of returning misguided people to a right path.
Taking this opportunity, I want to exchange views with you on yet another matter.
You are well aware that we have the monuments and scientific centers almost in all regions of our country, which were built in memory of great ancestors and thinkers, who have uniquely contributed to the prosperity of our religion. What would you say if we establish under those centers the scientific schools, which would train specialists in certain areas of Islam?
I think it will be very useful if we, establish, for instance, a Center of hadith studies at Imam Bukhariy Science and Research Center in Samarkand, a Center of Kalam studies under Imam Maturidiy Center, a School of Islamic law under Marghinaniy Center in Ferghana, a Center of Tasavvuf studies under Bakhauddin Naqshbandiy Center in Bukhara, a Center of Aqida studies under Abu Muin Nasafiy Center in Kashkadarya.
These schools will serve as a basis for training well-educated imam-khatibs, experts in Islamic studies and, most importantly, raising our children in the spirit of priceless heritage of our great ancestors and a healthy faith.
I have realized how important and topical this issue is when I recently visited Imam Bukhariy Memorial Complex.
I think we have to consider the following issues in order to improve the effectiveness of the Office of Muslims of Uzbekistan and create proper conditions for its affiliated organizations and imam-khatibs.
First, bearing in mind that the Office of Muslims of Uzbekistan, as well as mosques and educational institutions under its system function as non-profit organizations, we need to revise the amount of the single social payment paid by them.
Second, it is necessary to develop and implement specific measures in order to improve the activities, enhance scientific potential and strengthen the material and technical base of Imam-khatibs Center of Excellence under Imam Bukhariy Complex of the Office of Muslims of Uzbekistan in Samarkand Region.
Third, I think it would be fair if we apply the privileges on taxes and compulsory payments, which are now granted to media outlets specialized in the sphere of enlightenment, to “Hidoyat” magazine, “Islom Nuri” newspaper of the Office of Muslims of Uzbekistan, as well as other publications specializing in religion and enlightenment.
Fourth, I think the majority of people in our country watch with great interest “Khidoyat Sari” educational show, as well as TV programs of “Ziyo" Studio, which are broadcasted on “Uzbekistan” TV channel. Taking into account the efficient activities of the authors of these programs, we will continue supporting them in the future, as well.
In preventing grave dangers approaching our borders and fighting them with enlightenment, you, distinguished mullahs and imams, all religious workers, who have been sincerely working on the path of our religion and integrity, undoubtedly, have your own unique place and significance.
You are always beside us - from the moment when a child is born and azaan is recited into his ears and until the person’s last moments of life. That is to say, you are always with us both in good and bad days of our life.
We are grateful to you for your noble work on calling people to kindness and integrity, educating youth in the spirit of moral and ethics, strengthening the climate of peace and accord in makhallas and families.
Meanwhile, the time requires that we intensify our activities in this sphere and improve our effectiveness. Otherwise, all efforts that we have undertaken will be in vain. From now on, the activity of each imam-khatib will be assessed based on the religious situation in his district.
In this context, I think it is important to extensively promote across the country the issues that were discussed at the meetings with the activists of Shaykhontokhur District and Andijan Region, as well as the work that has been started in order to address them.
I myself personally witness that sermons and conversations of our imam-khatibs, unfortunately, in many cases are limited to narrow religious topics.
Meanwhile, many examples, which can solidify thankfulness, sense of confidence for tomorrow and a healthy faith can be taken from our life as much as one might wish.
For example, in the framework of the State Programme “The Year of Dialogue with People and Human Interests” alone, over 300 activities were envisaged and 37.7 trillion Uzbek soums, as well as 8.3 billion dollars is earmarked for their implementation.
In the framework of the State programme, 15,000 affordable, I underline, affordable houses will be constructed in rural areas in 2017 based on the new model design. You understand well that construction of a home for a person in need of a shelter is considered in religion as a great good deed.
In this context, I believe it is important to note that such noble traditions have never stopped in the life of our people and continue to be promoted by our state even more extensively today.
Urging youth to avail the favourable conditions created in our country for entrepreneurship and start their own business is yet another good deed encouraged by our religion.
I think we will not be mistaken to say that our great ancestor Bakhauddin Naqshbandiy made his appeal "Let your soul be with Allah and your hands in work" with this very purpose.
This year we have started another exemplary practice. To be specific, we are to allow replanting on 1 million 15 thousand hectares of land after grain harvesting. This is twice as much as in the last year. The goal is not to leave the land idle; let the people make profit.
Certainly, we can make many such examples.
It is not difficult to realize that all of these measures are aimed at our people, improving the level and quality of their life.
Most importantly, I think that you, my dears, especially deeply understand and appreciate that our efforts are comprehensively consonant and harmonious with the good deeds that our sacred religion appeals for.
All of us are well aware that under the leadership of our First President dear Islam Abdughanievich Karimov enormous work was carried out strengthening the Independence of our country in all areas, in particular, reviving our sacred religion, preserving its purity, promoting the religious tolerance, strengthening the climate of interethnic friendship and accord in the society.
Today, in the name of Allah, we are organizing the iftar ceremonies in all regions of our country in memory of the great son of our nation Islam Karimov.
Availing myself of this opportunity, I would like to invite all of you, my dears, to “Navruz” Complex this evening. May Allah accept your fasts!
Dear and distinguished fellow countrymen!
Whatever dangers and perils we face, we can defeat them only with our strong will, faith and integrity.
Whatever goals we wish to achieve, we can achieve them only with our love, devotion and dedication to our Homeland.
If we want to build a free and bright future, we will do it only together with our brave and noble people.
I am confident that each and every one of us is feeling this truth from the bottom of our heart. I wish that this great feeling be always the main criterion in our practical works and activities.
May Allah always support us on this path and bestow us with strength and determination.