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“The Uzbek government has forced eight U.S. citizens to leave the country after they reportedly attempted to convert local citizens to Christianity,” Central Asia Newswire reports.

8/10/2011 Uzbekistan (Central Asia Newswire) – The Uzbek government has forced eight U.S. citizens to leave the country after they reportedly attempted to convert local citizens to Christianity, media sources reported on Tuesday.

Missionary work is banned in the Central Asian republic, which is overwhelmingly Muslim with 90 percent of its 28 million citizens practicing the Islamic faith.

A state government web site, Gorizont.uz (Horizon), said the U.S. visitors were posing as English-language teachers and then tried to convert locals to the Christian faith, the Agence France-Presse (AFP) news agency reported on Tuesday.

The eight American citizens “carried out unlawful missionary activity to attract Uzbek students to Protestant dogma,” the Trend news agency reported the Uzbek government account as saying.

“Notably, the foreigners were fluent in Uzbek and called themselves with Uzbek names such as Jahongir, Husan, Jasur, Farhod,” AFP quoted the report as saying.

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