» 03/26/2009, 00.00
Tajik president Rakhmon signs law suffocating religious freedom
Even while it was being drafted, the bill was criticized by the OCSE and the U.S. Prompted by the fear of Islamic fundamentalism, it puts under state control any activity connected to faith, institutes censorship of religious publications, and makes the legalization of non-Muslim groups almost impossible.
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.
Tashkent, tight control over mosques and faithful during Ramadan
The main mosques are under surveillance, large meetings in private homes are forbidden, and the imams are strictly required to have their Friday sermons approved: the government seeks to control every aspect of religious life, out of fear of protests.
Iran closes human rights center of Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi
The center wanted to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the UN declaration of human rights. The police threatened and beat those present, and confiscated cameras. According to Human Rights Watch, it is "a challenge" to the entire worldwide human rights movement. Concern over the fate of the Nobel laureate.
10/03/2009 INDIA - SAUDI ARABIA
After jail, Christians pray for Saudi king Abdallah
Fr. George Joshua was arrested in 2006 by the religious police, for celebrating Mass in a private residence. In 2007, he founded a group that has been joined by more than 500 people. They are praying for the well-being of the kingdom, and for freedom of religion. The priest invites Christians in India to make a "positive contribution to Saudi society."
Medvedev steers religions toward young people, but blocks Jehovah's witnesses
The Russian president is involving the traditional confessions in programs on behalf of young people. The Kremlin wants to reinforce relations with the Orthodox, make the Patriarch of Moscow a point of reference for all religions, and attribute a strong political value to his position. Jehovah's Witnesses accused of social isolation.
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