Baptist fined for magazine subscription

A Baptist was fined in the Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe in September after three church members received religious magazines by mail from Belarus.

By Bob Allen

A Baptist in Tajikistan was fined after three church members received magazines from outside the country that officials said violated the country’s ban on production, import, export, selling and distribution of religious literature.

The Norway-based news service Forum 18 reported Nov. 18 that Madamin Chariyev, a Baptist in the capital city of Dushanbe, was among a number of individuals warned or fined recently for “illegal” religious literature that does not pass through state censorship. Authorities seized religious literature from several groups, including Muslims handing out booklets on the meaning of the Islamic holiday Eid al-Adha.

Our Daily BreadBaptists got into trouble in early September, when secret police confiscated copies of Our Daily Bread, a devotional magazine published and distributed in more than 40 languages worldwide by RBC Ministries in Grand Rapids, Mich. The magazines sent to the church for three members came from Belarus, one of the ministry’s various locations around the world.

Forum 18 said an official ignored the Baptists’ explanation that they were monthly issues of the magazine containing “no new Baptist teachings” and “were not intended for distribution among the public but individual use of each Baptist.”

Officials said the magazines were “unlicensed literature” that must go through “expert analysis” before being received or distributed in Tajikistan.

Chariyev reportedly paid his fine and decided not to appeal because he didn’t want to get in conflict with legal authorities.