» 07/29/2011, 00.00
Religious freedom in Kazakhstan means “one nation – one religion”
A new agency is set up to control religious groups. President Nazarbaev calls for greater surveillance of religious extremism. Religious minorities fear instead more repression. Many are already being forced out of their places of worship.
Christian convert from Islam gets two years in prison for stirring religious hatred
Yklas Kabduakasov, a 54-year-old father of eight children, is a Seventh-day Adventist. In November, he was sentenced to seven years of restricted freedom and had books confiscated. His appeal ended with a prison sentence in a government labour camp. The charges against him were: inciting religious hatred. For Christian sources, he was punished for converting to Christianity.
Restrictive new law on religious freedom is unconstitutional
Kazakhstan's Constitutional Council has rejected the new law because it violates the right to choose one's religion freely, and could cause discrimination. Now President Nazarbaiev can either comply with the decision, or ask the Council for a new one.
“Soviet methods” used on religious minorities
At an Osce conference, the countries religious authorities vaunt Astana’s religious freedom and tolerance. At the same time Jehovah Witnesses are sentenced for having gathered in prayer and the temple of the Hare Krishna is demolished. The systematic persecution of religious minorities.
Tashkent to reintroduce Soviet-style controls over religion
An official document shows how the state wants to exert close control over religious groups. Missionary and religious activities outside official organisations are punishable. The goal is to have a network of local committees in charge of religion like in Soviet times.
In Astana, parliament is approving a law for "religious unfreedom"
The lower chamber has approved the text, which will soon go to the senate for final review. The authors of the law refuse to release the text. But human rights activists say that it contains restrictive measures to wipe out many religious groups that today are permitted. No interest in observations from the OSCE.
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