Tag Archives: religious freedom

Uzbek police force pious Muslims to shave beards

JUNE 9 2021 (The Bulletin) — Police in Angren, east Uzbekistan, have forced pious Muslims to shave off their beards, the US-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported by quoting residents. According to the report, police ordered Muslims to their office to watch them shave. Despite talking up a liberal agenda, Uzbek officials are wary of overtly religious Muslims.

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— This story was published in issue 48 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin, on June 16 2021

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2021

Tajikistan holds a one-sided parliamentary election

MARCH 1 2020 (The Bulletin) — Tajikistan held a parliamentary election that generated, as expected, a clear win for the party of President Imomali Rakhmon. Tajik police had arrested hundreds of opposition supporters, mainly pious Muslims, in the run-up to the election. This, opponents of Mr Rakhmon said, was a state-sponsored effort to sideline opposition.
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— This story was first published in issue 438 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2020

Tajikistan arrests suspected members of the Muslim Brotherhood

JAN. 6 2020 (The Bulletin) — The security forces in Tajikistan arrested dozens of people over the New Year period who they said are linked to the banned Muslim Brotherhood group, media reported. Tajikistan banned the Muslim Brotherhood in 2006. It has carried out a number of purges since of Muslim Brotherhood members, although rights activists have said that the real targets may just be opposition supporters.

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— This story was first published in issue 433 of the weekly Bulletin on Jan. 13 2020

— Copyright owned by the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin

Don’t send men back to China, HRW tells Kazakhstan

JAN. 9 2020 (The Bulletin) — New York-based Human Rights Watch said that Kazakhstan should not extradite two ethnic Kazakhs accused of crossing the border illegally from China because they face the risk of torture or detention. HRW said that the two men, Kaster Musakhanuly and Murager Alimuly, had been escaping China’s crackdown on Muslims and that they should be given asylum.

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— This story was first published in issue 433 of the weekly Bulletin on Jan. 13 2020

— Copyright owned by the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin

Kazakhstan plans to return men to China

DEC. 7 (The Bulletin) — Kazakhstan’s National Security Committee said that two ethnic Kazakhs who crossed over from China’s western Xinjiang province illegally to escape what they said was the persecution of Muslim minorities will be returned to the Chinese authorities. A court case against Kaster Musakhan and Murager Alimuly for crossing the border illegally in October is due to begin soon but Darkhan Dilmanov, deputy head of Kazakhstan’s National Security Committee has already said that they have “no chance” of staying.
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— This story was first published in issue 431 of the weekly Bulletin on Dec. 9 2019

Copyright owned by the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin

Aliyev delivers anti-Europe speech

NOV. 27 (The Bulletin) — In a speech at a university in Baku, Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev said that he wasn’t seeking closer integration with Europe because it didn’t respect Islamic values, Bloomberg News reported. Relations between Azerbaijan and Europe have been strained for the past few years with European politicians accusing Azerbaijan of cracking down on civil liberties and promoting corruption. Next year Azerbaijan is dues to supply central Europe with gas from its Caspian Sea fields.
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— This story was first published in issue 430 of the weekly Bulletin.

Imam flees Uzbekistan after opposing headscarf ban

DEC. 20 (The Conway Bulletin) – Fazliddin Parpiyev, an imam at a Tashkent mosque, said that he had fled Uzbekistan after the security services questioned him over his statements earlier this year that a headscarf ban in schools should be lifted). Imam Parpiyev did not say where he had fled to but his statements will embarrass President Shavkat Mirziyoyev who has said that he wants to build a more inclusive society.

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>>This story was first published in issue 395 of The Conway Bulletin on Dec. 23 2018

Nazarbayev hosts Congress of World Leaders

ALMATY/Oct. 10/11 (The Conway Bulletin) – Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev hosted the sixth edition of the Congress of World Religious and Traditional leaders in the Palace of Peace and Accord in Astana. Mr Nazarbayev’s decorators have said that he has concocted the Congress to try and burnish his self-styled image as a bringer of peace to the world. It was first held in 2003 and takes place every three years. Kazakhstan is officially a secular country although its population is predominantly Muslim.

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>>This story was first published in issue 388 of The Conway Bulletin on Oct. 17 2018

Kazakhstan tightens religious rules

ALMATY, JAN. 31 2018 (The Conway Bulletin) – The Kazakh government is pushing a new bill through parliament that it says will strengthen the security forces ability to crackdown on what it describes as “religious extremists”.

The bill, which has passed a first reading, tightens rules on people travelling abroad for religious studies and makes it harder for children to attend churches or mosques.

Nurlan Yermekbaev, the religious affairs minister, seemed to go further and said that police would also target people wearing long beards and short trousers, both associated with devout Muslims. He said that there would be no blanket ban on long beards or particular clothing but that police would be allowed to issue on-the-spot fines if they thought that the beards and clothing were “promoting extremism”.

The European Evangelical Alliance also said it was worried the new laws would stop groups meeting up in private for bible study sessions.

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— This story was first published on Feb. 6 2018 in issue 360 of The Conway Bulletin

Tajikistan blocks Iran’s application to join the SCO

SEPT. 20  (The Bulletin) — Tajikistan is blocking Iranian membership of the Russia and China-led Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) because it accuses Tehran of supporting a banned Islamic party, Russian newspaper Kommersant reported. The SCO  is often viewed in the West as a military organisation, although its functions and institutions go further. It is focused on Central Asia, although this year India and Pakistan joined. SCO ascension needs approval from every member.

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— This story was first published in issue 344 of The Conway Bulletin, now called the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin, on Sept. 24 2017.

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2017