Where is the Religious Freedom Advertised in Washington Post Ads?
Kazakh Government Bulldozes Krishna Property; Institute President Asks. “Where is the Religious Freedom Advertised in Washington Post Ads?”
By Joseph K. Grieboski – President of Institute on Religion and Public Policy
Washington, DC, June 15, 2007
Washington, D.C. – Institute on Religion and Public Policy President Joseph K. Grieboski today released the following statement on the destruction by the Government of Kazakhstan of twelve more Hare Krishna-owned homes:
“While the national Government of Kazakhstan places ads in the Washington Post touting the great freedom of religion in Kazakhstan, sends Foreign Minister Marat Tazhin to Washington to pontificate on the great freedom of faith in Kazakhstan, and hosts under the auspices of President Nazarbayev the increasingly meaningless Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, the actual state of religious freedom in Kazakhstan is abhorrent and pitiful.
The peaceful Krishna movement finds itself under constant attack for its ownership of property that it rightfully purchased. Its recognition status in question – as are the statuses of many non-Muslim and non-Orthodox religious communities – the Krishna community awakens at five in the morning to find police and demolition men there to destroy their homes.
The local hakim was even witnessed strolling about the property in an expensive new suit wielding a sledge hammer. The hammer was quickly disposed of as he realized is actions were being filmed.
This is not the Kazakhstan that President Nazarbayev sells to the world. This is not the Kazakhstan that claims to be prepared to chair the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in 2009.
The Institute on Religion and Public Policy calls on President Nazarbayev to live up to the principles of the OSCE, the values of the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions and the heart of religious freedom by equitably compensating the Krishna Community for its loss of property and denying permission for the destruction of any further property.”