TBILISI, DFWatch–The Muslims in an eastern Georgian village are still not able to live their lives normally, as Friday prayer was disrupted again in Samtatskharo.
Neither local Muslims or Muslims from the other regions came to pray yesterday.
Parmen Tsetskhladze, one of the local Muslims told Kakheti Information Center that they try to avoid tension in the village and didn’t come to the prayer house.
The religious conflict in Samtatskaro has lasted for months and despite the involvement of government officials and police, prayer still fails to be held.
One of the leading Muslims, Hajji Suliko Khozrevanidze, who owns the house of praying, last week left and went to the Adjara region, saying that he feels bad due to the tension and wants to get medical treatment there, and wait until the situation calms down in the village. A few weeks ago, locals beat his wife.
Local Muslims say there are about 20 of them who want to pray, but Christians don’t let them.
On Thursday, Patriarch Ilia II visited Samtatskaro and met with the local population. The patriarch is the most trusted person in Georgia with more than 90 percent approval rating, according to public opinion surveys. He said that he won’t let the Muslim population be oppressed.
The Patriarch said he was raised in a family with Muslim Kists.
“My mother and father were putting carpets in the best room for them to pray and we prayed in another room with icons. That’s the type of family I was raise,” he said. “Whoever of you wants to pray, you come to me and pray.”