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Kazakhstan : How Far Does Tolerance of Religious Minorities Go?

(Forum 18) On 12 September the Kazakh government will open a conference in Astana of world religious leaders aimed at portraying the country as a haven of religious tolerance.
Yet two of the country’s religious minorities which have long faced official harassment – a Hare Krishna commune near Almaty which the local authorities want to close down and Baptist churches which refuse on principle to register with the authorities and which have been heavily fined and “banned” – have complained of continuing problems. Baptists have complained of raids and fines.
“Despite the Constitution of Kazakhstan, the authorities continue to push their illegal demands for the compulsory registration of churches.”