In Tajikistan’s latest attack on religious property, the Protestant Grace Sunmin Church in the capital Dushanbe has been given 10 days to leave their church building. Claiming they do not want to “disturb” the church over Easter, the authorities subsequently extended the eviction deadline to the end of April, reports Forum 18 News Service.
Church members strongly dispute the authorities’ claim that they do not own their own church, as well as the “ridiculous amount offered” as compensation. Mosques, churches and the country’s only synagogue have previously been demolished.
The highly restrictive new Religion Law has now come into force, despite strong protests from local human rights defenders, religious communities, and international bodies including the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief and the OSCE.
Among other restrictions in the Law, the number of mosques is restricted, all imams must be appointed by the state, state censorship is imposed on all religious literature; and children’s religious activity and education are restricted. State officials have described protests as “baseless” and those who share the concerns of international organisations as supporting “alien ideas.”
Report from the Christian Telegraph