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(Forum 18) – The harsh new religion law has not yet been passed, but the authorities are already behaving as if it is law. Religious communities do not yet need state registration – a requirement imposed by the new law. But a Protestant church in the Caspian Sea port of Aytrau is the latest religious community to be attacked because it does not have registration. Diyaz Sultanov, the prosecutor’s assistant, told Forum 18 that “it is impermissible for a church to operate without registration.” Another proposal put forward – but then apparently withdrawn – allowed religious communities to be closed without a court hearing. New Life Protestant Church , close to Almaty, has been “banned” by local administration chief Raspek Tolbayev, who told Forum 18 that “I will take the decision whether or not to open the church.” Parliamentary deputies Forum 18 has spoken to described the new law as a weapon against the “ideological diversity” of the West.