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Kazakh crack down on Christians as religion law tightened

Central Asia

Kazakh crack down on Christians as religion law tightened

The Kazakh Parliament. Photo credit: Wiki

Tight state control is continuing to harm Christians, in spite of amendments to Kazakhstan’s 2011 religion law.

A number of laws remain unchanged including laws on religious gatherings with only minor changes to fines or warnings given to religious groups.  The use by missionaries of religious literature and the participation of children under the age of 16 in worship meetings are also still prohibited. All of these are punishable offences.

Kazakhstan will also see the introduction of a new Article, Part 5 of the Religion Law banning religious teaching, including Christian instruction. At the time of writing, no further detail is available on the form punishments will take and how they will be applied to registered congregations.

Kazakhstan is around 70 per cent Muslim with a large Christian minority estimated at 26 per cent. Despite a secular constitution guaranteeing the freedom of religion, the 2011 Religion Law designed to prevent religious extremism has greatly reduced religious freedoms.