No need to speculate where that ‘tradition’ originated from. We all know the history of Islamic invasions, conquests, slavery of peoples, theft, looting, violence, terrorism.
This is a good illustration of what happened in these parts of the world when Muslim invasions took place. And like Muslims in general they complain that the West deem it illegal while they blame the West for ‘violence, drugs, orphans’ – without any capacity to see that this ‘tradition’ of theirs is evident of a distorted acceptance to violence which they refuse to ban.
Islam is the dominant religion of Kyrgyzstan: 80% of the population is Muslim while 17% follow Russian Orthodoxy and 3% other religions. A 2009 Pew Research Center report indicates a higher percentage of Muslims, with 86.3% of Kyrgyzstan’s population adhering to Islam.
During Soviet times, state atheism was encouraged. Today, however, Kyrgyzstan is a secular state, although Islam has exerted a growing influence in politics. For instance, there has been an attempt to arrange for officials to travel on hajj (the pilgrimage to Mecca) under a tax-free arrangement. Kyrgyzstan is an overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim nation and adheres to the Hanafi school of thought.
While Islam in Kyrgyzstan is more of a “cultural background” than a devout daily practice for many, public figures have expressed support for “restoring religious values” (Wahhabi extremism). Bermet Akayeva, the daughter of Askar Akayev, the former President of Kyrgyzstan, stated during a July 2007 interview that Islam is increasingly taking root across the nation. She emphasized that many mosques have recently been built and that the Kyrgyz are “increasingly devoting themselves to Islam”.
In rural Kyrgyzstan men still marry their women the old-fashioned way: by abducting them off the street and forcing them to be their wife. Bride kidnapping is a supposedly ancient custom that’s made a major comeback amongst the Muslims since the fall of Communism and now accounts for nearly half of all marriages in some parts. We traveled to the Kyrgyz countryside to follow/aid and abet a young groom named Kubanti as he surprised his teenage girlfriend Nazgul with the gift of marriage/kidnapping.