Tighter state control imposed in Tajikistan

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan — New amendments to Tajikistan’s already restrictive Religion Law passed in January will further restrict freedom of religion in the predominantly Muslim nation.

The amendments crack down on religious activity by all faiths by increasing religious communities’ reporting obligations, requiring state approval for all imams and increasing state control on religious education.

People from a variety of religious communities said they already have to submit to the state full details of all their activity and this seems set to increase still further. A government official defended the new restrictions saying religious people should not be afraid of control because “in all normal countries of the world religious organizations are controlled.”

Tajikistan ranks 22nd on Open Doors’ 2018 list of countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian. (F18)