According to Christian contacts in the country, officials from the KGB and the Committee of Religion visited several churches recently, issuing written warnings against children’s religious education. Although the law prohibiting religious education for children has existed since 2011, it has been enforced mainly on Muslims until now. These recent warnings, however, have caused concern among church leaders.
Christian converts from a Muslim background are most vulnerable to persecution in Tajikistan. Non-traditional Christian communities, like the Baptist Church, also suffer from raids, threats, arrests and fines by authorities.
Recently, 5,000 calendars with Bible verses, which were imported by the Baptist Church, were confiscated by custom officials and destroyed. The church also received a fine of about four months’ average wage for “producing, distributing, importing, or exporting religious literature and items of a religious nature which have not passed through the compulsory prior state religious censorship”.
A customs official told Radio Free Europe that inspection had shown the calendars had “elements of propaganda of an alien faith”.
Sources: The Voice of the Martyrs USA, World Watch Monitor, Forum 18
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