With new state Censorship Regulations for almost all religious literature and objects produced in or imported into Kazakhstan now in force, only some religious books — all Muslim — have so far successfully undergone the censorship process, Forum 18 News Service noted.
As of 8 May, 182 Muslim works had gained the Agency of Religious Affairs (ARA) approval required before they can be distributed. Those distributing uncensored religious literature risk fines. Although the maximum period the ARA has to conduct its censorship is 60 days, some religious communities complain they have had no response to applications “for months”.
No ARA official was immediately available to say how many books or religious items are awaiting approval, if any have so far been refused, why no non-Muslim books have yet been approved and whether religious books already in use are legal or not.
Officials have already confiscated religious books — including children’s books on the lives of Russian Orthodox saints — from libraries for checking.