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Restrictive Kazakh religious law passed

Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev has signed a new religious law aiming to combat religious extremism, but rights advocates fear it will restrict religious freedom, various news reports said.

Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev
  • Kazakhstan
  • October 14, 2011
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Kazakhstan's president has approved a bill with registration rules for faith groups, through a procedure that is virtually guaranteed to exclude smaller groups, including minority Christian communities, said an AP report on Forbes.com.

Supporters of the bill signed into law Thursday by President Nursultan Nazarbayev say it will help combat religious extremism. The law will require existing religious organizations in the mainly Muslim nation to dissolve and register again.

The law includes a ban on prayer rooms in state buildings, aimed at stamping out Islamist militancy, said a Reuters report in The West Australian.

A suicide bombing in May and the arrest in August of a group accused of a terrorist plot raised fears of a surge in militancy, prompted Nazarbayev to call for the new law to help curb extremism, it added.

The law also requires all missionaries in the country to register with the authorities every year.

Rights groups in the West, including the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, have raised concern that it may restrict religious freedom.


Kazakhstan passes restrictive religion law (Forbes.com/AP)

Kazakhstan curbs religious freedom to halt militancy (The West Australian/Reuters)



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