Law applies to everyone without discrimination

June 14. Kazpravda

By Vladimir Osipov

Law applies to everyone without discriminationIn Astana, a meeting took place of the Council for Relations with Religious Associations under the Government.

The topmost agenda item was fulfillment of the Law “On the religious activities and religious associations.” As noted, the legal barriers set to religious extremists had brought fruits. In general, interethnic and religious harmony is the hallmark of Kazakhstan.

– May 31, the IV Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions ended in Astana, conductive to rallying of Kazakhstan’s society and responded to worldwide, -Baghlan Mailybaev, Deputy Head of Presidential Administration told the meeting in the start. -An effective religious dialogue has been built in the country, based on the state’s non-interference in the internal affairs of religious organizations, equality of all religions before the law.

It was noted that we cannot allow religious differences to be used in social destabilization ends. In this respect, the Agency for Religious Affairs and local executive bodies are tasked to foster religious tolerance. The Foreign Ministry should include an explanation of the country’s policy in the religious sphere, as religion is an integral part of international relations. In general, public authorities must take all necessary measures for the development of harmonious relations between the state and religions.

– Religion, – B. Mailybaev went on, – is a delicate sphere and requires impartiality and interaction, including through non-governmental sector and mutual trust. And the Religious Council’s main task therefore is to duly tackle interfaith dialogue problems.

Chairman of the Agency for Religious Affairs Kairat Lama Sharif announced the results of the Law “On the religious activities and religious associations”, prompted by the need to put in order the work of religious missionaries, protect the national interests and prevent any harmful ideological influence.

– Religious literature of various content, extremist including was disseminated almost freely, which posed risks of pernicious manifestations and violations on grounds of religious rights and freedoms, harming the citizens’ health, – said K. Lama Sharif.

With the enactment of the law, state-confessional relations have been made orderly. Legal implementation tools for it were worked out and outreach work was accomplished among the religious confessions.

– Joint discussion of current problems in countering extremism and radicalism became a current practice.

In the first year-quarter, 34 internet resources with extremist content were tracked down and closed, and in accordance with the law, the Agency halted the work of 579 small religious groups that did not have signs of a legal entity. Before adoption of the Law “On religious activity and religious associations,” they were only registered in the account of the local executive bodies.

Last year the activity of 31 foreign missionaries was halted, and this year the enforcement bodies have prevented the illegal activities of 205 members of the “Tablighi Zhamagat.”

K. Lama Sharif described the overall religious situation in Kazakhstan as positive, pointing at that to some aspects that want close attention.

In the first place it is a competent, timely and proper registration and re-registration of religious associations. This process should culminate in October 24 this year, after which the justice bodies will initiate liquidation of the religious groups that had not passed the re-registration.

Among the other tasks indicated is control of the missionary activity, bearing in mind that by law a religious activity may be carried out only at the place of accreditation, and solely at the legitimate places of worship.

An action plan -2012 was adopted in the end.