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.
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… 😯
- HRW lambasts Kazakhstan for expulsion of refugees (sfgate.com)
- As China Invests, Many Kazakhs Say: Not Too Fast (npr.org)