2008-07-29 13:00:00

Kazakhstan authorities oust foreign missionaries

Astana, July 29, Interfax - Foreign missionaries have been expelled from Kazakhstan, country's Justice Minister Zagipa Baliyeva said.

"A large number of foreigners from the United States, Georgia, South Korea and Japan were expelled from the country by law enforcement authorities following court decisions for violating regulations while working as missionaries without the required registration," the minister said at a government session on Tuesday.

In particular, "head of Narconon, an organization associated with the Church of Scientology, was ousted with a five-year ban on entering Kazakhstan," she said.

"The propaganda activities by seven groups of Tablighi Jamaat missionaries were discontinued and their 22 followers are facing administrative charges," she said.

At the same time, "we revealed 27 instances of violation of the law on freedom of religion and religious organizations by heads of non-traditional religious organizations, including the possession of material containing propaganda of radical ideas and the teachings of non-traditional religions," she said.

To date, there are 362 foreign missionaries from various religious movements working in Kazakhstan, the justice minister said.