In its survey analysis of religious freedom in Kyrgyzstan, Forum 18 News Service notes that both registered and unregistered religious communities appear to function freely, despite a 1996 presidential decree requiring religious communities to register. A dispute in 2003 about headscarves worn by Muslim schoolgirls seems to be over, however the closure of six mosques has not been overturned and the official who ordered the closure has not been punished. A Pentecostal Church which faced a massive tax bill and obstruction in registering affiliated congregations hopes that, due to international concern attributed to Forum 18’s reporting, a solution will be found. However, due to Muslim anger at conversions from Islam to Christianity, Forum 18 has been told by some that an official campaign against Christian proselytism may soon be launched.
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Forum 18 News Service (F18News, Oslo, Norway) is a Christian initiative which is independent of any one church or religious group. Its independence is safeguarded by a board whose members are Protestant, Orthodox and Catholic Christians. F18News is objective, presenting news in a deliberately calm and balanced fashion, and presenting all sides of a situation. The overriding editorial objective of F18News is to as accurately as possible present the truth of a situation, both implicitly and explicitly.