Burial of believers denied

By March 25, 2009

Uzbekistan (MNN) — Growing religious intolerance in Uzbekistan now includes the dead.

Officials in the nation's northwest region have obstructed the burial of a Muslim because his widow and son are believers, according to Forum 18 News. Mahalla administrators admitted to Forum 18 that the burial had been stymied but denied that the idea came from them.

In Karakalpakstan, Uzbekistan's independent regime, sources said that authorities don't allow local residents to be involved in burials of Christians, as would be typical in Central Asian culture. The local community's non-involvement in a funeral equates to an expulsion of the deceased person's family from the community. Forum 18 says locals are shocked as sources report that officials are telling people: "Your dead will not be buried." Officials also threaten punishment for anyone who accepts Christianity; all non-state-controlled religious activity in Karakalpakstan is a criminal offense.

Current persecution reflects the worsening situation in Uzbekistan, with three Christians recently imprisoned after a home raid. Authorities are cracking down not only on Christians, but on Hare Krishna sects and Jehovah's Witnesses as well.

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