This July, a Baha’i citizen of Kazakhstan was arrested by authorities in Uzbekistan for spreading the teachings of the Faith. He was sentenced to 15 days in prison followed by an expulsion from the country without a right to return. A recent news article published in gorizont.uz, which is sponsored by National security service of Uzbekistan, claimed that since the Baha’i Faith originated in Persia, the missionary Baha’i is an agent of Iran.

It is interesting how the Iranian regime accuses Baha’is of being agents of Israel and other Western powers, and that Uzbekistani state media now claims that Baha’is are in fact Iranian agents. The following is a translation prepared by BahaiRights from the original article in Russian:

Sect Member Sows Trouble
By Abduvali Turayev
September 16, 2009

A recent decision by the Khamzin regional court in the Uzbekistani capital Tashkent led to the expulsion without the right to return from Uzbekistan of a 36 year-old citizen of Kazakhstan. The Kazakh, Timur Chekparbaev, was found guilty of active propagation of the ideas of the Baha’i religious community.

The missionary had a temporary right to stay [propiska] in the Khamzin region of Tashkent. Looking at if from the side, it seems strange how a foreigner was able to put together a significant religion community in a short time. This community included young people not just from Tashkent, but also from the Djizak and the Bukharian governorates of Uzbekistan.
I would like to offer a short explanation to the readers about this new religion. The teachings of the Baha’is took shape in 1844 in Persia, as a totally separate religion, wholly based on the teachings of its founder, Baha’u'llah. It does not represent a cult within a religion, a reformist movement or a sect within some other religion. It can not be called a mere philosophical system.

Back in 1904 the Russian writer Sergey Ignatyevich Umanetz mentioned the Baha’i as a separate religion. And in 1925, an Islamic court in Egypt ruled that the Baha’i Faith is a separate religion, and not a sect within Islam. However, other opinions on this matter exist. For example, according to the known expert on sects Walter Martin “Baha’ism is an Iranian transplant in the United States, a syncretic religion that aims at uniting all believers in a worldwide brotherhood. The Faith adheres to the truths of the major world religions and considers Baha’u'llah to be the Messiah of our time. The Faith attaches less importance to other issues, and gives people the freedom of belief regarding those issues.”

It is clear that Mr. Chekparbaev arrived in Uzbekistan in the aim of creating a similar Iranian transplant in the country, drawing on the support of generous donations from sponsors. By the way, the headquarters of the Baha’is operate in the open in Israel. Certain elements from that country find it very useful to use the Baha’i community to shatter the unity of the Muslim ranks, since the Jews see Islam as the main opponent of Judaism. It is also interesting that in the dawn of Baha’ism, Russia offered asylum to one of the leaders of this persecuted religion. And in Ashkhabad [Turkmenistan], one of the Baha’i communities was built.

This young man [Chekparbaev] carried out missionary and proselytizing activity without having the proper religious education and the appropriate license to carry on an activity of such sort, and in violation of the Uzbekistani law, and the rules governing stays in the country.

Maybe in Kazakhstan they turn a blind eye on such things, but in Uzbekistan, the mission of the preacher of Baha’i religious ideas proved short. On the 24th of July of this year, Mr. Chekparbaev was arrested and sent to the court for holding yet another “meeting” in house 36 on Bayikurganska Street in the Khamzin region of Tashkent. The regional court gave him a rather lenient sentence: 15 days in prison followed by an expulsion from the country without a right to return.

In principle, Chekparbaev couldn’t officially carry missionary activity since Baha’i isn’t recognized as an official, separate religion by the world community. Therefore, this ideological sabotage had very clear goals that are connected to increasing the geo-political influence of Iran, and sowing confusion in the minds of millions of Uzbekistani citizens. Is seems that such a lenient treatment of all sorts of missionaries won’t stop the incoming waves of dark personalities, which wish to test their luck based on the questionable field of false prophets. The Uzbekistani authorities will kick out one person, but the people behind this will send someone instead. But the moral damage inflicted on the fragile souls on young people (by the way, Mr. Chekparbaev’s so-called flock included minors!), will not be reversed so easily. Who knows, maybe this is Kazakhstan’s attempts at transferring the work of all sorts of false prophets from their country to their neighbor, Uzbekistan.