Saturday, May 22, 2010

Azerbaijan—Is the Bible Banned?

Well it's certainly alot more difficult to apply the words of today's text and "walk with God" when government authorities refuse to allow you to even cross the border with your copy of the Bible.

JW-Media link to the following article

For Immediate Release
May 20, 2010

Azerbaijan—Is the Bible banned?
GAZAKH, Azerbaijan—At the Red Bridge border control near the city of Gazakh, customs officials confiscated personal literature including 33 copies of the Holy Bible, either in its complete form or some version of the four Gospels.

On April 25, 2010, more than 250 persons in five buses and two minivans were returning home after having attended a religious assembly of Jehovah’s Witnesses in neighboring Georgia. The border control officers confiscated the Bibles, as well as personal books and notebooks. The delegates were kept waiting in the cold for many hours. Though each of the buses arrived at the border control at approximately 5:30 p.m., the first bus wasn’t released until almost midnight; other buses were held until 3:00 a.m. This caused considerable hardship, especially for the more than 30 elderly and infirm persons and the more than 30 mothers with children.

Prohibiting citizens from returning to Azerbaijan with their personal copy of the Bible and other personal religious publications is in complete violation of fundamental rights and freedoms. Along with the Bible, one of the books confiscated, published by Jehovah’s Witnesses, was What Does the Bible Really Teach? Although that book has been translated into 202 languages and is available worldwide, with over 140 million copies printed, it is on a list of publications that cannot be imported into Azerbaijan. The ruling to refuse its importation was issued in 2007 by the State Committee of Azerbaijan Republic for Work With Religious Associations and was based on the subjective assessment of its own Department of Religious Studies Expertise, Public Affairs and Analysis. However, that department had previously examined the same book and had not objected to its being imported.

On September 28, 2009, the Religious Community of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Baku filed an application with the European Court of Human Rights regarding the censorship of the book What Does the Bible Really Teach?, as well as other publications.