Uzbekistan has confiscated Christian books from a youth group returning from Kazakhstan. An Uzbek customs official told Forum 18 that the confiscations were “not confiscation, but temporary removal.” Customs officials claimed that a court would decide what would happen to the literature. Believers said that a customs official swore at them, saying “We are the bosses here, and we will do what we like. If we need to, we’ll lock you away.” Officials refused to provide copies of Confiscation Certificates, and the group was held for nine hours before being released.
In other incidents, the head of Ukraine’s Baptist Union has been denied entry to Uzbekistan, and another Christian has been denied permission to leave — no reasons were given for either action. Additionally, two foreign religious websites have had access blocked from within Uzbekistan. These actions appear to be part of a policy of isolating religious believers from their fellow believers in other countries.
Read also Uzbekistan: Country report.
Officials claim that Uzbekistan is a Muslim country and Islam is primarily controlled from inside its state-run structures. Other religious communities are required to officially register. Police make surprise visits to churches and forcibly close those who cannot immediately produce registration papers.