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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kazakhs Ban Prayer Rooms

ALMATY, Kazakhstan — Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev late last week signed a tough religion law, including a ban on prayer rooms in state buildings, aimed at stamping out Islamist militancy but criticized by Kazakhstan's top Muslim cleric and the West.

The law, swiftly approved by the compliant legislature, has caused heated debate. Kazakhstan's supreme mufti, Absattar Derbisali, said a ban in Article 7 on prayer rooms in all state institutions could anger pious Muslims and spur extremism.

The law also requires all missionaries in the country to register with the authorities every year.