Events Calendar

Central Asia’s Struggle with Religion @ Voesar Conference Room
Dec 6 @ 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM
Central Asia's Struggle with Religion @ Voesar Conference Room

with Catherine Cosman, Senior Policy Analyst- U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom        

Central Asian governments use state-controlled Islam to build national identity, but also fear Islam’s influence and understand that Islam has greater mobilization potential than any other institution in their societies.  In the early 1990’s, there was fairly free access to various religious influences and the popularity of Islam and other religions increased rapidly. Today, however, Central Asian religion laws include: severe restrictions on religious education; strict limits or bans on children attending religious services; censorship and limits on religious literature; severe limits and controls on places of worship; bans on unregistered religious activity; restrictions on foreign influence, and difficult registration regulations.  Central Asian governments also attempt to control religion via government-controlled structures, including religious affairs committees and state-controlled religious bodies.Central Asian states have also have adopted wide-ranging policies to combat extremism, particularly the prosecution of alleged members of officially banned groups rather than proven involvement in violent acts.
Catherine Cosman is senior policy analyst at the U.S. Commission on International ReligiousFreedom. Her areas of responsibility include the countries of the former Soviet Union, East andCentral Europe, and Western Europe.