Study of Jehovah's Witnesses' teaching illegal in Uzbekistan


by Khakim Azizov, 31 January 2017


The website of the Jizzakh regional administration [khokimiat] reports that in Jizzakh an Uzbek girl was fined for interest in the sect of Jehovah's Witnesses


Twenty-three-year-old M. Abdurakhmanova resides in the Zheli-guli mahalla [district] of Jizzakh. She does not have special knowledge about religion. However the girl displayed interest in the Jehovah's Witnesses. She loaded onto her smart phone a videotape that was prepared by adherents of this sect and wrote various notes of a religious character in a diary.


The video and notes that Abdurakhmanova possessed were discovered during an operation conducted by law enforcement agencies. Possession of such videos and listening to, viewing, and distributing them are prohibited by religious institutions of the republic.


Giving testimony at the judicial session, M. Abdurakhmanova said that she alone viewed this video and she did not distribute it. She apologized for the fact that in the course of a year she studied the New Testament and sermons of Jehovist leaders and listened to songs of a religious character. The girl did not know that all of her actions are illegal.


Taking account of the fact that the defendant has not been held administratively accountable and is sincerely sorry for what she did, the court found Abdurakhmanova guilty on the basis of relevant articles of the Administrative Code of Uzbekistan and imposed a penalty of a fine of 20 times minimum wage, or 2,995,500 soms [approximately 854 Euros]. The telephone and diary were destroyed in according with established procedure.


It should be noted that Uzbekistan has frequently refused Jehovah's Witnesses the right of registering their meetings and it views any religious activity of the sect as illegal.


Characterizing the Jehovah's Witnesses, a writer in one Russian publication says: "Everybody knows when the doorbell rings, cell phone calls, or a couple of representatives of the sect of Jehovah's Witnesses stops you on the street and offers 'free study supposedly of the Bible,' but Stop! It is not the Bible, but what remains of it as the result of hard work of rewording it by individual American citizens in the early 20th century. And this document is not even called the Bible but 'The New World Translation' in which the deity of Jesus Christ is denied. In other words, for a Jehovist, Christ died on a stake and there was no resurrection, and he was a wooden god for idolaters."


And not everyone knows that the activity of this sect of Jehovah's Witnesses is prohibited in many countries as extremist and totalitarian, in China, North Korea, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, and a number of other countries.


Once landing there, a citizen is helpless to get out. This is not a church or mosque to which you can turn in accordance with an inner call, so to speak, when you need it. If your relative falls among the "Witnesses", then you either lose him forever, in the event that you do not share his views, or you become a "Witness" together with him. (tr. by PDS, posted 2 February 2017)

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