20 April 2018

KAZAKHSTAN: Parents challenge schoolgirl headscarf ban

Kazakhstan's national schoolgirl headscarf ban is being legally challenged by a group of Muslim parents, whose daughters have been banned from school for wearing a headscarf. In their interpretation of Islam, they argue, wearing a headscarf is compulsory. Officials deny a headscarf problem exists. [read more...]

18 April 2018

RUSSIA: "Everyone has become much more cautious"

The authorities use two Administrative Code articles to confine the exercise of freedom of religion and belief to easily regulated places, and to limited numbers of people. "Where the boundaries of lawful behaviour lie is incomprehensible," a Hare Krishna lawyer told Forum 18. [read more...]

13 April 2018

UZBEKISTAN: Prisoners of conscience freed, others not

Sisters Zulhumor and Mehrinisso Hamdamova were freed after more than eight years in prison for unauthorised religious meetings. Also freed was Zuboyd Mirzorakhimov, a Tajik citizen jailed for Muslim material on his mobile. An unconfirmed report says another Muslim Farida Sobirova was freed. Yet another, Mastura Latipova, remains jailed. [read more...]

11 April 2018

KAZAKHSTAN: State demands young worshippers' personal data

A Kazakh regional Religious Affairs Department has demanded the personal data of everyone under 18 who attends Christian meetings for worship. "It was not sent to Muslims, for example, just to Christians, and selectively", an official stated. She refused to explain what "selectively" means. [read more...]

6 April 2018

UZBEKISTAN: Legally-published religious literature "extremist"?

The Tashkent trial is due to begin on 13 April of a Muslim accused of giving his hairdresser a legally-published Muslim book. A Fergana Region court handed a Muslim scholar a three-year suspended prison term for possessing for scholarly purposes a Muslim work he did not completely agree with. [read more...]

5 April 2018

KAZAKHSTAN: Cancer sufferer freed, other cases continue

Transferred by train from Pavlodar labour camp to cancer hospital in Almaty, Jehovah's Witness pensioner Teymur Akhmedov was pardoned and freed on 4 April. Prosecutors say a criminal case against a Protestant pastor will "soon" be closed down. Prosecutors are still investigating a five-year-old criminal case against an atheist. The trial of three Muslims continues in Karaganda. [read more...]

29 March 2018

UZBEKISTAN: Will authorities pardon tortured, jailed Shia Muslim?

The Chief Directorate for the Enforcement of Punishments refused to say what stage Shia Muslim prisoner of conscience Jahongir Kulijanov's request for pardon has reached. Among 20 Shias detained in Bukhara in February 2017 and tortured, fined in August 2017, Kulijanov was jailed for five years in September 2017 for having works on Shia history. [read more...]

26 March 2018

KAZAKHSTAN: Raid, filming, fingerprinting, insults, criminal case

"Anti-extremism" police raided Kyzylorda's New Life Church, halted Sunday worship, filmed those present, and forced them to state why they attend. Teachers from a Special School questioned adult former students why they were present and insulted their faith. Pastor Serik Bisembayev faces criminal investigation for "inciting discord". [read more...]