02/28/2019 Tajikistan (International Christian Concern) – World Watch Monitor has reported that new amendments to Tajikistan’s Religion Law are being used to exercise tighter control over the country’s tiny Christian community. These new amendments are now allowing the government to ban children from attending religious services and to ban the importation of religious literature.
According to Forum 18, the State Committee for Religious Affairs and Regulation of Traditions, Ceremonies and Rituals (SCRA) are now demanding greater information on the running of religious communities in Tajikistan. They are also using amendments to Tajikistan’s Religion Law, which came into force in January 2018, to exercise greater control specifically over religious education.
Within these new amendments, the state must be made aware of children under the age of 10 attending religious meetings. In December 2018, a SCRA official attended a Christian meeting where several children under the age of 10 briefly came to see their parents. The SCRA official used this “incident” to fine the Christian community almost eight months’ wages.
Also in December 2018, SCRA destroyed 5,000 calendars with Bible verses that were being imported by the Baptist Church. According to SCRA, the calendars carried elements of “propaganda of an alien faith”.
As regulations and government control continue to tighten in Tajikistan, many Christians are left wondering if there will be any room left for religious freedom. According to Open Doors USA, Tajikistan is ranked the 29th most difficult country for Christians to live in the world.