"12 July 2006
KYRGYZSTAN: NEW LAW TO RESTRICT RELIGIOUS FREEDOM?
An official of Kyrgyzstan's state Religious Affairs Committee has told Forum 18 News Service that the Religion Law could soon be amended to restrict evangelism or proselytism. 'I hope that the new draft of the Law will be as close as possible to international standards,' But, 'we have to take local reality as our starting point,' Shamsybek Zakirov told Forum 18. He expressed concern about anger from local Muslims in southern Kyrgyzstan, directed at the Religious Affairs Committee and local Protestants at Protestant evangelism. Zakirov confirmed statements made by Pentecostal Pastor Dzhanybek Zhakipov to Forum 18 that pressure by the authorities on local Protestants has increased. Government minister Adakhan Madumarov today (12 July) was reported as also indicating that the Religion Law may be tightened. The problem of intolerance of Christians and other religious minorities - leading to violent attacks and even murders - is widespread in Central Asia."