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» 03/30/2009
TAJIKISTAN
New synagogue of Dushanbe to open soon
It will stand in a building given to the Jewish community by a rich banker. The old synagogue was demolished to build the new presidential palace. There is great fear in the country for religious freedom, especially for non-Islamic faiths, after the restrictive law promulgated last week.

Dushanbe (AsiaNews/Agencies) - The Jewish community of Dushanbe will soon have a new synagogue, thanks to a donation from a prominent businessmen. Serious restrictions of religious freedom are underway in the country, and are more severe for non-Muslims.

The synagogue will be built in a few months, in the building (in the photo) donated by Hasan Assadullozoda, owner of Orient-Bank and the brother-in-law of Tajik president Imomali Rakhmon.

The Jewish community is expressing great satisfaction. Its rabbi, Mikhael Abdurahmonov, has said that the new synagogue will be better than the previous one.

The only synagogue in the capital was demolished last June, together with an entire neighborhood, in order to build the grandiose new presidential palace. The few hundreds of Jews in Dushanbe protested, in part because they did not have the money to build a new place of worship, and the government had promised to take care of the matter but then did nothing.

The old synagogue was built at the beginning of the 20th century, when there were at least two Jewish neighborhoods in Dushanbe. It survived the Soviet period, and for the Jews was always a place not only to pray, but also to gather and carry out social activities on behalf of the needy.

A restrictive new law on religious freedom went into effect in the country last week. It prohibits religious education for children under the age of seven and in private homes, permits the celebration of religious services only in places approved by the authorities, and allows the recognition of non-Muslim religious groups only if they have at least 400 faithful in rural areas, 800 in the cities, and 1,200 in the capital. 95% of the 6.5 million inhabitants are Muslim.


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See also
03/26/2009 TAJIKISTAN
Tajik president Rakhmon signs law suffocating religious freedom
03/17/2009 RUSSIA
Medvedev steers religions toward young people, but blocks Jehovah's witnesses
03/10/2009 INDIA - SAUDI ARABIA
After jail, Christians pray for Saudi king Abdallah
by Nirmala Carvalho
06/24/2008 TAJIKISTAN
Dushanbe’s old synagogue demolished to make way for a presidential palace
03/11/2009 SAUDI ARABIA
Prison, whipping for 75-year-old widow: her nephew brought her bread

Editor's choices
VATICAN
Pope: I am with the persecuted Christians of Mosul and the Middle East "May the God of peace inspire in all a genuine desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is never defeated with violence. Violence is defeated with peace." At the Sunday Angelus Francis comments on the parable of the wheat and the weeds. God is "patient" He knows "the same weeds in the end, may become good wheat". But "at the time of the harvest, that is, of judgment, the reapers will execute the order of the master separating the weeds to be burned".
CHINA - VATICAN
Beijing, seminarians desert graduation ceremony: We will not celebrate Mass with illegitimate bishops The rector of the seminary is the illegitimate bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin: Students refuse to concelebrate with him and reject Msgr. Fang Xingyao, who has participated in several illegal episcopal ordinations. The directors close the year without awarding diplomas and send students home: rumors of some courses being "suspended" in September. The precedent of 2000, when 130 young students chose fidelity to the Pope over compromise with the government.
HONG KONG-CHINA-VATICAN
Card Zen: Religious freedom and civil liberties are united, for China and Hong Kong
by Bernardo CervelleraA wide ranging conversation with the bishop emeritus of Hong Kong: the courage of Msgr. Ma Daqin, who sent a message to Pope Francis; underground Catholics are also prepared to be arrested; suspicions about Beijing’s sincerity towards possible dialogue with the Holy See. And in Hong Kong, the march for a referendum on democracy; support for "Occupy Central"; the fear of the government and arrests. Card. Zen reaffirms that religious freedom and civil liberties go hand in hand.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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