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Uzbekistan: How Many Forced Closures of Religous Communities ?

2007-02-16 Uzbekistan (Forum 18) Uzbekistan tries hard to camouflage its religious freedom violations and one way it does this is through statistics.
Comparing February 2007 figures from the state Religious Affairs Committee with October 2002 figures, shows that a net total of six Christian churches are indicated to have lost registration, along with one Jehovah’s Witness, one Hare Krishna and one Baha’i community. The figures cannot be independently verified and conceal denominational differences, with an increase in Russian Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic communities disguising loss of legal status of Protestant churches.
Religious believers inside Uzbekistan indicate that the reality may be much worse. Some Protestant churches have recently calculated that 38 of their congregations were closed down by the state between 2000 and 2006. Over 100 religious communities of various faiths are thought to have tried unsuccessfully to gain registration. The Religious Affairs Committee asserts that “there there are no restrictions on or hindrances to registration.” Without state registration, all religious activity is illegal and religious believers are subjected to harsh state action.