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Reading Bibles only allowed in registered religious buildings comment (0)

September 26, 2013


TASHKENT, Uzbekistan — Begzod Kadyrov, chief specialist of the Uzbekistan government’s Religious Affairs Committee in the capital of Tashkent, has defended the widespread fines handed down to individuals after religious literature is confiscated from them. Asked why such penalties are handed down, and why individuals cannot carry their religious books like the Bible with them, he responded: “According to the Religion Law, religious books are only allowed to be read within registered religious communities’ buildings.”

In two separate cases in August administrative fines on 20 religious believers in Samarkand and Kashkadarya for “illegal religious literature” totaled the equivalent of nearly 68 years’ official minimum wage.

Told about the vast number of fines and penalties in Uzbekistan for “illegal religious literature” — including these two cases — Kadyrov declined to comment. “Those are court decisions and the courts are independent from us.”

Asked whether the purpose of the Religious Affairs Committee is not to help religious communities and individual believers, and why the Committee will not initiate positive changes to the harsh Religion Law, Kadyrov claimed, “No one from the communities has complained to us [about the Law or the penalties]. We cannot just act on the basis of articles published on the Internet.”

Kadyrov would not discuss his committee’s “expert analyses” of religious literature, on the basis of which numerous religious works — including Muslim and Christian literature — are ordered destroyed by the courts.

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