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Saturday, 22 October 2011

Tony Blair helps Kazakhstan boosts its image in West.

The heading is taken directly from today's Telegraph newspaper, above an article by Andy Bloxham that explains the way in which the former British Prime Minister "... works for several governments and companies including the rulers of Kuwait; JPMorgan Chase, the bank; and UI Energy Corporation, a South Korean oil company", and claims that "Mr Blair's deal with the country, said to be worth about £8 million, is the latest addition to his network of international clients, which are believed to have earned him £20 million since he left office."

One has to ask if there is any limit to this man's personal greed - and he is supposed to be a good Socialist!!!

He appears not to be too concerned as to where he makes his money.  The same article goes on to explain that "Diplomatic cables sent from the Kazakh capital, Astana, and published by WikiLeaks, have stated: 'Corruption is endemic among Kazakhstani officialdom.'  The US cables also described 'severe limits on ability to change their government; detainee and prisoner torture and other abuse; unhealthy prisoner conditions; arbitrary arrest and detention; lack of an independent judiciary; restrictions on freedom of speech; pervasive corruption … discrimination and violence against women; trafficking in persons'". 

This is not all.  According to Release International, "Churches in Kazakhstan say officials are enforcing tough new policies on religious activity even before they have passed into law.

Kazakh Christians fear the new Religion Law will severely limit religious freedom by, for example, requiring all churches to re-register – and imposing strict registration criteria.

Officially the law does not come into force until Wednesday (October 26). But evidence gathered by Forum 18 news service suggests that Kazakh officials are already citing the law to crack down on religious activity.

In the south-west city of Atyrau, for example, police and security officials raided a worship meeting held in a local hall by a state-registered Protestant church called New Life last month. Officials cited the new Religion Law as the ground for the raid. A 17-year-old girl who tried to film the incident on her mobile phone was knocked unconscious by a police officer.

Officials claimed that the church could not legally meet outside its legally registered address – which is a local hotel. The church maintains that they had been forced to meet in the hall because officials had forced the hotel to end its rental agreement with them.

Shortly before the raid, officials published an article in a local paper claiming that New Life pastor Galymzhan Nagmadinov was 'brainwashing' his congregation for his own financial gain. He roundly denies the accusation.

Kazakh Christians had expressed concern that the proposed legislation had been rushed through Parliament and should not have been approved without significant amendment – but President Nursultan Nazarbaev put his signature to the new laws on October 11.

Religious rights campaigners claim the new Religion Law violates Kazakhstan's international human rights commitments. As well as imposing a complex new registration system, it requires faith groups to have both central and local government approval to build or open new places of worship. Other legislation soon to be approved has serious implications for the religious freedom of particular groups, such as children, and for the freedom to print religious literature.

If Mr Blair put his much-vaunted 'faith' before his apparent love for "unrighteous mammon", he would surely be using his relationship  with Nursultan Nazarbayev, the president of the oil-rich central Asian state, to support this part of the persecuted Church.  That's why those who call themselves disciples of Jesus must always take heed of the words of Jesus: "For no good tree bears bad fruit , nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit; for each tree is known by its own fruit . For figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good man out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure produces evil; for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks." (Luke 6:43-45; RSV)

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