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Clamping Down On Religious Freedom In Central Asia

Clamping Down On Religious Freedom In Central Asia
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The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) just released its annual report on freedom of religion in the world. The sections on Central Asia make for grim reading. Constitutionally, people in Central Asia can practice whatever faith they choose. In practice, however, only the state-approved forms of Islam and the Russian Orthodox Church are acceptable to authorities in Central Asia. Other groups face a myriad of problems; discussions of religion posted on social networks that stray from state sanctioned norms can lead to legal repercussions. Joining host Bruce Pannier to discuss are Mollie Blum, a researcher at USCIRF who helped compile the data on Central Asia for the recent report, and Felix Corley, editor of the Forum 18 News Service that monitors religious freedom in the former Soviet republics and Eastern Europe.