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“Uzbek authorities have arrested a Protestant missionary and seized a large amount of religious material from his house in the Uzbek capital Tashkent,” Central Asia Newswire reports.

5/4/2011 Uzbekistan (Central Asia Newswire) – Uzbek authorities have arrested a Protestant missionary and seized a large amount of religious material from his house in the Uzbek capital Tashkent, a local law enforcement source told Russia’s Interfax news agency on Wednesday.

Authorities launched a criminal case against Anvar Razhapov, who heads the Iso Masih missionary organization, for possession of banned material brought into Uzbekistan from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Ukraine.

“Over 250 titles of Protestant literature in 350 copies were seized from Razhapov’s home,” the news agency reported the source as saying.

“Other seized material includes 180 CDs and DVDs, 44 video cassettes, and 22 audio cassettes, which contained religious material intended for ideological control and education of young people in the spirit of Protestantism,” he said.

State authorities prohibited religious conversion in predominantly Muslim Uzbekistan in 1998.

President Islam Karimov has governed Uzbekistan along Soviet-style lines since the country gained independence from Moscow in 1991.

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