Posted by: becketfund | February 22, 2008

Kazakhstan: Religious Communities Under Increased Scrutiny

ALMATY – Jehovah’s Witness and unregistered Baptist communities are the subjects of renewed government scrutiny, Forum 18 reported on February 22. Recently, government officials have begun to bar religious communities from their meeting places, and have singled out ethnic Kazakhs for their involvement with certain confessions. Authorities do not hesitate to use media to discredit certain religious groups, most recently smearing Baptists as “lawbreakers” in an article published by the state-run media. Also, Forum 18 reports that the Kazakh government has recently distributed questionnaires to certain non-Muslim religious communities, asking for details about the communities’ members. Members of the communities that received questionnaires have reported that they suspect Kazakhstan’s secret police, the KNB, is attempting to recruit spies from inside religious communities.

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