Kazakhstan: Religious freedom means “one nation – one religion”

The president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarba...

Kazakh President Nazarbaev. Image via Wikipedia

Of course, this means there is actually no religion in the country:

For Kazakhstan’s new Agency of Religious Affairs (ARA), religious freedom means “one nation – one religion”. In fact, Kazakh authorities have announced new measures to increase controls on religious groups, including legal penalties.

On 22 July, Kazakh President Nazarbaev said, “It is necessary to strictly suppress the spread of elements of extremist religious ideology in the country, especially, open actions which are aimed at undermining the constitutional system and which pose a threat to citizens’ lives and health“.

At a meeting of the country’s Security Council, the president said that local governments “should step up educational and preventive measures, as well as keep a close watch on religious associations’ strict compliance with the existing legal norms.”

This set off alarm bells among religious minorities. In April, Nazarbaev had already called for greater controls against an unspecified “extremist religious ideology”, which was followed by a police crackdown against religious minorities and a hostile campaign against them in state media.

In fact, in the absence of any clear definition of “religious extremism”, ARA has gone on an offensive against all Muslim groups that do not adhere to what it considers mainstream moderate Islam.

via KAZAKHSTAN Religious freedom in Kazakhstan means “one nation – one religion” – Asia News.

Really dangerous move: would Ahmadis be considered “mainstream moderate Islam”? I guess not.

When a Govt wants to forbid something, the 1st rule of all consists in stating very clearly what are the actions which are no longer allowed. And has anyone an idea of what is a “mainstream moderate Islam”? Because defining that into a law, would be really hard to do… 😯

Morocco: the new Constitution is not as good as it may seem

The new constitution “supports the human rights in all aspects, including a fair trial, no torture, no detention, no disappearance, and we need to guarantee the freedom of expression,” he said. The new constitution will also guarantee “freedom of religious worship.”

Foreign residents currently enjoy freedom of worship. Moroccan Christians, while not denied freedom of worship, “reportedly do not meet regularly due to fear of government surveillance and social persecution,” according to a US State Department report.

Yes, it guarantees freedom of religious worship, but not freedom of conscience: that is, if you are a Muslim, you won’t be able to change your religion.

But there is more: speaking about this constitution, the leader of the main opposition party (Islamist Justice and Development Party), said that:

“Morocco is a Muslim country whose state religion is Islam, and do not touch these fundamental principles. In Morocco, the freedom of worship is now guaranteed to Christians, Jews …, but not the freedom of conscience. A Muslim can not change his religion or even leave his practice in public, as happened last year when a handful of young men wanted to break the fast in a park in Mohammedia.

He also spoke about gays:

“We risk [with the new Constitution] to see people who publicly declare they are a sexual deviant,” was outraged. “The PJD reject this situation. Those who Fall in these sows should be hidden,” he said.

Switzerland: Muslims want Islamic cemeteries in every canton

Coat of Arms of Switzerland.

Image via Wikipedia

Swissinfo:

An umbrella group for Swiss Muslims says they should be able to be buried “with dignity” and is therefore calling for Islamic cemeteries in every Swiss canton. Farhad Afshar, president of the Coordination of Islamic Organisations in Switzerland, told the Sunday newspaper Sonntag he was preparing a legal case concerning freedom of religion.

He said that following the Bernese commune of Köniz’s recent rejection of a separate burial ground for Muslims, a legal ruling was necessary so that “the next time someone says no [to an Islamic cemetery] they are violating freedom of religion”.

Islamic law says Muslims should not be buried with those of a different faith – something already possible in some Swiss cities, for example Zurich, Bern, Basel and Geneva.

The Muslim community in Switzerland accounts for about 4.5 per cent of the population. Most Muslim immigrants came from the former Yugoslavia and Turkey. The community includes up to 100 nationalities.

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Religious freedom: the shameful top ten

Reuters:

U.S. allies Saudi Arabia and Egypt are among 10 mostly Muslim nations whose governments impose the most curbs on religion, according to a report on Wednesday by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

… The report ranked countries by two measures: government restrictions on religion and restrictions from violence or intimidation by private individuals or groups. Saudi Arabia was the only country to rank “very high” in both measures.

The first index ranked 10 mostly Muslim countries as “very high.” It also included China and mostly Buddhist Myanmar.

No. 1 oil exporter and U.S. Middle East ally Saudi Arabia was ranked the most restrictive, followed by U.S. adversary Iran. Pew noted both impose limits on minority faiths and “enforce strict interpretations of Islamic law.”

Egypt was also in the “very high” list and several of the countries, including Saudi Arabia, are routinely cited in the U.S. State Department’s annual International Religious Freedom Report under “restrictions, abuses and concerns.”

The report also mentions Afghanistan. The complete list on IAC.

Related:

Turkey, “highly” restrictive on religious freedom @ Today’s Zaman.

UN, Saudis pushing for "Global Blasphemy Law"

UN, Saudis Conspire to Stifle Free Speech – Islamist Watch Blog

United Nations General Assembly President Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann (former Sandinista foreign minister and recipient of the International Lenin Peace Prize) said on Tuesday [November 11] that the world body should ban defamation of all religions and disagreed that such a move would impinge upon freedom of speech.

“Yes, I believe that defamation of religion should be banned,” he said in response to a question at a press conference to highlight the interfaith conference at the UN headquarters. No one should try to defame Islam or any other religion, he said, adding: “We should respect all religions.”

The problem is that:

(…) there is a thinly veiled agenda at work here: “a global law to punish blasphemy — a campaign championed by the 56-member Organization of Islamic Conference that puts the rights of religions ahead of individual liberties.”

(…) last week’s UN get-together’s document goes on to emphasize the “special duties and responsibilities necessary
for the respect of the rights or reputations of others, protection of
national security or of public order, or of public health and morals
.”

Again they are pushing for the global blasphemy law.

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