MINELRES: F18News Summary: Azerbaijan; Russia; Uzbekistan; Xinjiang

MINELRES moderator minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Wed Sep 22 15:37:00 2004


Original sender: Forum 18 <f18-news-server@forum18.org>



FORUM 18 NEWS SERVICE, Oslo, Norway
http://www.forum18.org/

The right to believe, to worship and witness
The right to change one's belief or religion
The right to join together and express one's belief

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16 September 2004
AZERBAIJAN: IMAM BARRED FROM TRAVEL TO OSCE CONFERENCE
http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=413
Forum 18 News Service has been unable to discover from the Azerbaijani
authorities why on 12 September border guards at Baku airport prevented
religious freedom activist and imam Ilgar Ibrahimoglu Allahverdiev from
travelling to Brussels to take part in an OSCE conference on racism and
discrimination. Ibrahimoglu told Forum 18 he was not allowed to board
his Lufthansa flight despite having checked in and passed through
customs. "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not have any information
on this issue," the ministry's chief spokesperson Metin Mirza told Forum
18. "The ban imposed upon me to visit the OSCE conference is the latest
arbitrary action against me," Ibrahimoglu complained.


14 September 2004
RUSSIA: INCREASING CRACKDOWN ON MUSLIM "EXTREMIST" BOOKS
http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=410
Muslims have complained to Forum 18 News Service of increased scrutiny
of their literature, often by "specialists" who know nothing of Islam.
Among reasons given for banning an eighteenth century book by the
Arabian founder of Wahhabism, a Moscow court ruled in April that it
"disputes the truth" of atheism, Sufism and monasticism. After
confiscating religious literature from two Muslim communities in the
Urals in 2002, officials "didn't find anything which would form the
basis of a criminal case - they were prayer books, introductions to
Islam and commentaries on the Koran," one leader told Forum 18.
Accusations that a Muslim community is "extremist" - and therefore
liable for banning under Russia's 2002 extremism law - reportedly often
originate from rival Muslim jurisdictions, and are taken up by the FSB
secret police and prosecutors. "The law is very frequently used by
officials as a convenient instrument for exerting pressure on Muslims,"
Sheikh Nafigulla Ashirov of the Spiritual Directorate of Muslims of
Asian Russia told Forum 18.


16 September 2004
UZBEKISTAN: MEDICAL INSTITUTE EXPELS PROTESTANT STUDENTS
http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=412
After pressure earlier in the year on Protestant students in Nukus in
the autonomous region of Karakalpakstan [Qoraqalpoghiston], two students
were expelled from the town's medical institute in early September for
membership of an "illegal" Protestant church, the Church of Christ.
Protestant sources told Forum 18 News Service that the two - Aliya
Sherimbetova and Shirin Artykbayeva - were told that a further reason
for their expulsion was that their cases had been reported on the
internet, an apparent reference to Forum 18's coverage. Six other local
Protestant students have been harassed in Nukus this year. It is almost
impossible for Christian churches of any denomination to gain official
registration in Karakalpakstan and therefore to meet legally for
worship.


13 September 2004
XINJIANG: MONGOLIAN MINORITY ISOLATED FROM FELLOW-BUDDHISTS ABROAD
http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=409
While ethnic Mongolian Buddhists in China's Xinjiang-Uighur autonomous
region say they can generally practise their faith without serious
government pressure, some told Forum 18 News Service in the
Bortala-Mongolian autonomous prefecture that maintaining contact with
fellow Buddhists abroad is almost impossible. They said all visits by
lamas from Mongolia require special permission, while they cannot visit
foreign Buddhist centres. They added that portraits of the Tibetan
Buddhist spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, are banned in temples.


15 September 2004
XINJIANG: IMAMS AND MOSQUE EDUCATION UNDER STATE CONTROL
http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=411
The imam of the central mosque in the town of Turpan in China's
north-eastern Xinjiang region admitted to Forum 18 News Service in early
September that the Chinese authorities name all imams to local mosques.
Imams also have to attend regular meetings of the national religious
committees at their town administration, where they are told what they
can do and are ordered to preach peace and condemn terrorism in their
sermons. Local adult Muslims, mainly ethnic Uighurs, can learn about
their faith only in certain mosques where the imam has gained special
approval, while children are banned. "The authorities instruct us to
tell parents that their children must complete their education before
they can start to attend mosque," the imam reported, though Forum 18
observed some children in Turpan's mosques at Friday prayers.


16 September 2004
UZBEKISTAN: MEDICAL INSTITUTE EXPELS PROTESTANT STUDENTS

http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=412
By Felix Corley, Editor, Forum 18 News Service

For more background information see Forum 18's Uzbekistan religious
freedom survey at
http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=105 

A printer-friendly map of Uzbekistan is available at
http://www.nationalgeographic.com/xpeditions/atlas/index.html?
Parent=asia&Rootmap=uzbeki
(END)

 Forum 18 News Service. All rights reserved.

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