Kazakhstan’s president approves restrictive religion law, dashing hopes of minority groups
Oct 13. Associated Press. ALMATY
Kazakhstan’s president has approved a bill tightening registration rules for faith groups that has been described by critics as a blow to freedom of belief in the ex-Soviet nation.
Supporters of the bill signed into law Thursday by Nursultan Nazarbayev say it will help combat religious extremism, an issue that has come to the fore after a series of Islamist-linked attacks in the west of the country over the summer.
The law will require existing religious organizations in the mainly Muslim nation to dissolve and register again through a procedure that is virtually guaranteed to exclude smaller groups, including minority Christian communities. It will also impose a ban on prayer in the workplace.
Passage of the bill marks a reversal of Nazarbayev’s earlier attempts to cast Kazakhstan as a land of religious tolerance.