Posted by: becketfund | January 20, 2009

Tajikistan: Places of Worship Closed Down

DUSHANBE – The government has continued to close down places of worship, unregistered mosques have been shut down, the country’s only Jewish synagogue has been bulldozed and Protestants and Jehovah’s Witnesses report difficulty in using their places of worship, Forum 18 reported on January 20. Special commissions of the city authorities closed down mosques not registered with the Culture Ministry’s Religious Affairs Committee. In defense of this closure, Shamsiddin Nuriddinov of the City Executive Authority, who headed the commissions, told Forum 18 on January 15 that the places they closed down were public halls, and that people had “no rights to organize prayers” there. The Tajik parliament is still considering a new draft Religion Law. If adopted, it would impose sweeping controls on religious activity and religious associations, particularly on mosques. All registered religious organizations will have to re-register by July 1, 2009. Those that fail to do this or who no longer meet new more restrictive registration criteria will lose their legal status 



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