By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent
TASHKENT, UZBEKISTAN (Worthy News)– Secret police officers and other officials raided the Sunday worship service of an unregistered ethnic Korean Baptist Church in the town of Chirchik in Tashkent Region on Feb. 5.
Police Inspector Otabek Alimov, Urtachirchik District and Nurmina Askarova, Chair of the local Mahalla Committee, were among the 10 officials who raided the 9 a.m. worship service; they confiscated a sound amplifier, microphone, keyboard, projector, hymnals, audio cassettes and DVDs.
The officials said that the confiscated items would be sent to the state Religious Affairs Committee for "expert analysis"; they then charged Pastor Vyacheslav Kim under Administrative Code Article 184-2: Illegal production, storage, or import into Uzbekistan with a purpose to distribute religious materials.
"We warned them many times that they should register with the state," Askarova told Forum 18. When asked why the Korean Baptists can't meet in private homes for worship, she said they should instead attend a registered church.
"We treat everybody equally, both Christians and Muslims," Askarova said. "We closed a mosque in our Mahalla, for instance, and asked worshippers to attend a mosque, which is both bigger and registered, in the neighbouring district."