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Tajikistan: More than half of religious communities to be “illegal”?

ICC Note:

Forum 18 reports that “Less than a month before the re-registration deadline of 1 January 2010 imposed by Tajikistan’s restrictive new Religion Law, officials have conceded that less than half the religious communities in the country have been re-registered. Under the Law, communities which do not want to register or fail to gain re-registration will be illegal.”

By Mushfig Bayram

12/10/2009 Tajikistan (Forum18) – Less than a month before the re-registration deadline of 1 January 2010 imposed by Tajikistan’s restrictive new Religion Law, officials have conceded to Forum 18 News Service that less than half the religious communities in the country have been re-registered. Under the Law, communities which do not want to register or fail to gain re-registration will be illegal. Deputy Culture Minister Mavlon Mukhtarov and Idibek Ziyoyev of the Culture Ministry’s Head Department for Religious Affairs (HDRA) – which oversees registration – told Forum 18 that unregistered religious activity will not be allowed, despite this breaching international human rights standards. Some mosques have already been refused re-registration, and many are waiting for registration along with the Baptist Union and the country’s only synagogue. When re-registering some non-Muslim communities the HDRA has imposed territorial restrictions on their activity. If the number of mosques in a local area exceeds the Law’s mosque quotas, Deputy Culture Minister Mukhtarov told Forum 18 that “we will close down mosques which exceed the quotas.”

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