Kazakhstan continues to prevent freedom of religion comment (0)
June 14, 2012
TALDYKORGAN, Kazakhstan — Kazakhstan continues to use land use regulations as a means to prevent religious communities and their members from exercising freedom of religion or belief, Forum 18 News Service reported.
In one of several recent examples, in Taldykorgan the authorities have with this tactic forced a Methodist church to “voluntarily” close and fined the wife of the church’s pastor.
Pastor Valery Kim said the church paid for an announcement in newspapers that it was liquidating itself.
“We do not want more punishment from the authorities,” he said.
Zhumagul Alimbekov, head of Almaty Region’s Agency of Religious Affairs department, said, “The church will be closed down anyway unless they can collect 50 signatures for re-registration.”
Asked why Kazakhstan, whose government loudly boasts of its alleged religious tolerance, obstructs people exercising the internationally recognized right to freedom of religion or belief, Alimbekov claimed, “We are a law-governed state. We must obey the law.”