Muslims Force Christian Daughter to Renounce Faith to Bury Her Mother

This is far from the first time a Christian has been denied burial in this mountainous Central Asian country. In its 2016 report on the country, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) noted, "The Kyrgyz government also has not resolved the chronic problem of religious minorities being denied burials in municipal cemeteries controlled by the Muslim Board."

USCIRF presented a case from August 2015, when "Osh city officials and a local imam did not allow a Protestant to bury her son in their local cemetery and the imam pressured her to renounce her faith."

Even religious meetings are not free from police interruption. "The same month, 10 police officers raided a Jehovah's Witness worship meeting in a rented cafe in Osh and brought an imam to convert those present," the report added. "Police beat one man who was filming the raid; at the police station, officers strangled three Jehovah's Witnesses until they lost consciousness. According to Kyrgyz human rights activists, the government does not take legal action against police who commit violent acts."

"In Kyrgyzstan, we have had a whole rash of cases in recent years where imams and village elders have refused to allow non-Muslims to be buried in village cemeteries," Felix Corley of the Norway-based religious freedom group Forum 18 told RadioFreeEurope. "This has affected Protestants, Baha'is, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Hare Krishna devotees, and there is very little that the families of the deceased can really do about this."

"The first-ever mufti of our independent country, Kimsanbai Hajji, issued a fatwa banning the burial of followers of other religions together with Muslims," explained Dilmurat Orozov, spokesman for the Muslim non-profit Islam Taalimi in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, told RadioFreeEurope.