Kazakhstan's parliament has voted in favor of a controversial law to ban prayer rooms in all state buildings.
Kairat Lama Sharif, chairman of the Kazakhstani Agency for Religious Affairs, said prayer rooms soon will disappear from government offices, schools, medical centres and military units.
On Wednesday, the lower house of parliament voted in favor of a hastily drafted new law on religious affairs – exactly three weeks after President Nursultan Nazarbayev ordered his rubberstamp legislature to adopt such a law.
At the time, Nazarbayev pledged that the bill would not infringe on religious freedoms in a country where around seventy percent of the population is Muslim and most of the rest Orthodox Christian.
But human rights groups are crying foul.
Most controversially, the new law bans prayer in all state institutions, including government offices, military units and public education establishments.
The Senate is expected to approve it and President Nursultan Nazarbayev plans to sign it.
AgenciesLast Mod: 22 Eylül 2011, 16:52