Posted by: becketfund | April 18, 2008

Turkmenistan: Government Continues Raids on Religious Communities

ASHGABAD – Officers from the Department of Religious Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, and members of Turkmenistan’s secret police raided a Bible class held by the Greater Grace Protestant church in Ashgabad on April 11, saying it was their duty to check-up on religious organizations Forum 18 reported on April 18.  Local officials explained that the raid was a necessary procedure to determine the identities of those attending the Bible study, and to ascertain how many people the class drew.  Officials warned the pastor, Vladimir Tolmachev, that he was not allowed to teach members of his own church without express government permission, and that repeated warnings would result in his church losing its legal status, a decision which would render all of the church’s activities illegal.

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