Turkmen, Uzbek Faith Groups Still Under Pressure

July 18, 2008

Author: Staff Writer

Source: Institute for War & Peace Reporting


The state of religious freedoms in both Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan remains as poor as ever, with both governments suspicious of Muslim and non-Muslim faith groups alike.

At a White House meeting on July 14 dedicated to the tenth anniversary of the United States’ International Religious Freedom Act, President George Bush noted positive steps taken by the Turkmen authorities in this regard, in particular by releasing the country’s former chief Muslim cleric, Nasrullah ibn Ibadullah. President Gurbanguly Berdymuhammedov ordered Ibadullah’s release last year.

President Bush cited Uzbekistan as being of particular concern when it came to the rights to religious believers.

Formal legislation in both Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan guarantee freedom of confession, but in practice the right is surrounded by restrictive regulations.