Implementation of rights and freedoms under the Constitution is extremely important for Uzbekistan where a great number of nationalities inhabit and work in peace and consent. There are more than 120 nationalities and about 15 religious denominations in Uzbekistan.
In spite of the fact that overwhelming majority in Uzbekistan practices religion of Islam, all religious denominations are granted equal constitutional rights and guarantees.
Moreover Republic of Uzbekistan has acceded to more than 30 international instruments in the field of human rights and entirely undertakes all its commitments in this area.
Under these circumstances Government of Uzbekistan encourages the establishment of environment of mutual tolerance and respect among civilians of various religious faith and those who do not belong to any religious denominations.
In this context it is worth to mention the events and symposia dedicated to religious issues and various anniversaries initiated by the Government of Uzbekistan. Thus, in 1995 Christian and Muslim conference titled “To Inhabit Jointly Under a Single Sky” was conducted; in November 1996 the 125th anniversary of Eparchy Administration of the Russian Orthodox Church was celebrated in Uzbekistan; the 100th anniversary of Lutheran Church of the Gospel and Lutheran Society of Uzbekistan, which is the only one in Central Asia, was also celebrated in December 1996.
Nevertheless the Government and the people of our country do not conceive and do not want to allow religious and other fanaticism and extremism, any actions towards contradiction and worsening of relations, unleash hostility among various religious beliefs and entities, to use religion for the purposes to achieve one’s political aims that pursue the forcible changes of constitutional regime.
Dramatic developments of recent months have obviously demonstrated that there is a threat for the peace and stability in Uzbekistan. Some extremist forces endeavour to throw down Uzbekistan from democratic and secular way of development. In this context those extremist groups try to use and to disguise their intentions by the values of Islam.
Due to attempts of intervention and pressure by the religious organizations towards the State authorities as well as illegal religious activity, the Government of Uzbekistan takes measures to ensure the security of citizens and stability of the situation. These measures are not directed against religion but to prevent religious extremism. Appearance of the movement of Islamic fundamentalism in the territory of Uzbekistan is an example to that. The main source of this phenomenon is beyond the boundary of Uzbekistan.
Threats of Islamic fundamentalism towards Uzbekistan are as follows:
1. Attempts to undermine the believer Muslims’ trust in Government by spreading Islamic fundamentalism, to destroy stability, national and civilian consent and accord among people. Islamists aim to discredit the democracy, secular state, multinational and multi-religious society.
2. Provocation of opposition among population of the provinces of the country and social strata on the basis of “true” and “false” religiousness that split societies of Afghanistan and Algeria.
3. Break out permanent civil war in the countries which are contiguous to the southern border of Uzbekistan, so that to be able to bring up new generation of terrorists, bandits, who consider themselves as true Muslims and fighters for the belief, and who crave for imposing their monstrous ideas to the peoples.
4. Formation of global opposition between Islamic and non-Islamic civilizations that negatively reflects in the process of integration to the world community and supports “clash of civilizations” on the basis of religion.
As for registration of religious entities in Uzbekistan it is carried out in accordance with the Law “On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations” new edition of which was adopted in May, 1998 and the Government of Uzbekistan pursues its policy in this field based on the principles of international law on human rights.
Thus, in Uzbekistan 1702 religious entities have officially been registered. Out of them 1566 are Muslim, 136 belong to other religious denominations, such as Russian Orthodox church — more than 30, Evangelist-Baptist — 16, Christians of a Full Gospel — 18, Christians Adventists of the Seventh Day — 9, Lutherans — 3, Roman Catholic church — 3, Armenian Apostolic church — 1, Korean Protestant church — 44, Society of “Bakhai” — 3, Jewish community — 8, Bible society of Uzbekistan — 1.
Presently documents of another 80 religious entities are under consideration in the relevant authorities of Uzbekistan.
However, the data is not final, for the process of registration has not yet completed and the number of religious entities, willing to get registered, increases constantly.
Higher Institute of Islam (750 students) and 9 specialized secondary schools (1199 students, including 345 females) operate under the Theological Administration of Muslims of Uzbekistan. 13-15 graduates of the Seminary under Russian Orthodox church receive their theological education annually as well as Samarkand Protestant Seminary is functioning in Uzbekistan.
Tashkent Islamic University has been established by the Decree of the President of Uzbekistan this year.
24 thousand Uzbek pilgrims have accomplished pilgrimage to Mecca (Khadj) and also 18 thousand civilians from Uzbekistan travelled to Mecca for U’mra (small Khadj) during the period of independence since 1991. During the former Soviet Union (in 75 years) less than 90 persons were able to do it.
Article 8 of the new edition of the Law on religion reads as follows: “Religious entity is established by the initiative of no less than 100 citizens of the Republic of Uzbekistan who reach 18 year-old age, and who permanently reside in the territory of Uzbekistan”.
However bearing in mind that in the territory of the country number of certain religious denominations are not numerous, they are entitled to register their religious entities.
For this purpose a special Commission on the Solution of Disputable Matters, Arising in the Registration of Small Religious Communities has been created by the Decree of the President of Uzbekistan. More than 30 small religious communities which consist of less than 100 members have obtained registration.
In August, 1999 another 20 religious entities, representing various religions, have been registered at the Ministry of Justice of Uzbekistan. Among them are Association of Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Society of Krishna, New Apostolic church, Church of Christ and other religious denominations.
The Law stipulates that “Freedom of practicing of religion or other beliefs are subject to only those restrictions which are necessary to ensure national security and public order, to protect lives, health, morals, rights and freedoms of other citizens”. This principle completely corresponds with Article 18 of International Treaty on Civil and Political Rights adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations Organization on 16 December, 1966.
President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov says: “We support the ideas that religion should accomplish its role in introducing the highest spiritual, moral and ethnic values, the historic and cultural heritage among the population. And we will never admit the religious slogans to be put on the banner in the struggle for power, the pretext for intervention in politics, economy and legislation, because in this we see a serious potential threat to stability and security for our state.”

2009 anno dello sviluppo