Government believes freedom of religion is guaranteed in Tajikistan

Dushanbe, Tajikistan - Tajikistan does not permit manifestations of religious fanaticism but observes all provisions concerning the freedom of conscience and religion, deputy head of the Tajik State Committee for Religious Affairs Mavlon Muhtorov said.

He spoke in Warsaw at a working meeting of OSCE on the freedom of thought, conscience and religion. Interfax obtained the texts of speeches made there.

"Tajikistan has guaranteed the freedom of conscience and religion and takes corresponding measures to establish relations of tolerance and respect between believers and non-believers, between religious associations of various creeds and their followers," Muhtorov said.

"At the same time it does not allow manifestations of fanaticism or extremism in the operations of religious associations or individual citizens," he added.

To substantiate his point he said that Tajikistan is the only Central Asian country to have a legally functioning religious party, the Islamic Renaissance Party that is even represented in the country's parliament.

However, human rights activists don't share this optimism.

"The misinterpretation of the provisions of the laws on traditions, festivities and rites, and on the freedom of conscience and religious associations by public officials often leads to the violation of the freedom of thought, conscience and religion," head of the Center for Human Rights of Hujand (Tajikistan) Saifullo Ergashev believes.

He said that local authorities prohibit religious wedding ceremonies and permit only secular weddings.