The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) just released its annual report that named Tajikistan and Turkmenistan as “countries of particular concern” and recommended Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan be placed on the U.S. State Department’s Special Watch List, a list Uzbekistan was removed from in December 2020.
Governments in Central Asia have worked since independence to increase control over religion in their countries and many groups and members of different faiths have been persecuted and denied registration. Some believers have been imprisoned, particularly Muslims, whom the governments of these countries seem to fear the most.
On this week's Majlis podcast, RFE/RL Media-Relations Manager Muhammad Tahir moderates a discussion about religious freedom and the lack thereof in Central Asia.
This week's guests are: from Washington, Nury Turkel, commissioner at the USCIRF and also a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute; Felix Corley, the editor of the Oslo-based Forum 18 News Service, an agency monitoring religious freedom in the former Soviet republics and Eastern Europe; from Warsaw, Poland, Muhamadjon Kabirov, the president of the Foundation for Intercultural Integration, the chief editor at Azda TV, and formerly the personal assistant of the chairman of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikstan; and Bruce Pannier, the author of RFE/RL's Qishloq Ovozi blog.