Tajik authorities ban sales of Jesus cartoon

Dushanbe, Tajikistan – Tajikistan’s Religious Affairs Committee banned the sale of a Jesus Christ cartoon in Khorog, the administrative centre of the Gorno-Badakhshan autonomous region, the BBC Persian service reported.

Claiming that the cartoon advocated a foreign religion, the Committee seized 20 copies of the cartoon from sellers. It later confirmed to Interfax that it had seized religious discs in Khorog but did not comment the matter.

The cartoon had been translated into Shughni, a language spoken by about 250,000 Pamir Tajiks, who are predominantly Ismaili Muslims, a branch of Shia Islam. Most Tajiks (85 per cent) are Sunni.

Under a new version of the Law on Religion and Religious Associations adopted in Tajikistan in 2009, proselytising is against the law. Nevertheless, over 80 religious organisations, most of them Christian, operate in the country.