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Kazakhstan Raids Another Presbyterian Church

The international community failed to call Kazakhstan’s bluff on religious rights.

We reported last November on the raids on Grace Church, a network of Korean Presbyterian church-plants, in Kazakhstan. The country's secret police (formerly KGB, now KNB) are back at it, Forum 18 reports. Last weekend they raided the Grace Church in Almaty, the largest city in Kazakhstan.

Leaks through the media allege that church members are engaged in spying, appropriating church members' property, failing to file financial information, inciting inter-religious enmity and holding illegal drugs, even though no-one has ever been brought before a criminal court.

Vyacheslav Kalyuzhny, the Deputy Human Rights Ombudsperson, says the Church has not complained to his office. "People are not persecuted on religious grounds in Kazakhstan," he claimed.

The claim, while absurd, has worked in the recent past. In November, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) elected Kazakhstan to be the chair, beginning in 2010:

Minister Tazhin also emphasized that religious tolerance is ...
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