JNN 01 Dec 2013 Almaty : 56 Imams took part in a local workshop in the Qostanay province of Kazakhstan teaching them how to make the most of social media websites like Facebook in order to share religious knowledge, take questions, and reach out to a younger audience.
Ruslan Bolatuly, an official in the northern Qostanay Province, told Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty (RFERL), described the move as a “preventative measure” to counteract those who are using the internet to recruit youngsters into armed rebel groups.
Despite most of the country’s 2,500 mosques having their own websites, imams who mainly belong to the older generation and have no interest in the internet have been struggling to meet the needs of younger Muslims.
Darkhan Syzdykov, deputy imam of the Maral Eshan mosque, said “Nowadays, young people spend most of their time surfing on the Internet. Nobody wants to bother to listen to mosque sermons,” adding, “Young people prefer to get answers to their questions [about religion] without leaving their homes. That’s why imams should be proactive on social networks.”
Statistics from 2012 revealed that 20% of the central Asian countrie’s 17 million people were active on social media websites.
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