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Pressure in schools, sackings, haj restrictions: Teachers and police intimidate Jehovah’s Witness children in schools, including for refusing to wear the national flag. Muslims and Jehovah’s Witnesses have been sacked from state jobs. A student was expelled from university. This year had the smallest government-sponsored haj pilgrimage group since 2009.

School children continue to face pressure from education officials and police if they are known to be members of religious communities the authorities do not like. Police and education officials have brought in state-appointed Muslim clerics to intimidate children from non-Muslim faiths. A woman was expelled from a university in the capital Ashgabad [Ashgabat] for meeting with Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Muslims and Jehovah’s Witnesses are known to have been sacked from state jobs in the past year, especially from the army and hospitals, because they exercised their right to freedom of religion or belief (see below).

Meanwhile it appears that the number of Muslims the Turkmen government allowed to go on this year’s haj pilgrimage to Mecca – just 160 – was the lowest since 2009, when the government allowed no pilgrims to travel. The haj is an obligation for all able-bodied Muslims who can afford it at least once in their lifetime. The government has severely restricted its citizens’ participation in the past two decades. It has never explained why it does so (see below).

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Pressure in schools, sackings, haj restrictions: Teachers and police intimidate Jehovah’s Witness children in schools, including for refusing to wear the national flag. Muslims and Jehovah’s Witnesses have been sacked from state jobs. A student was expelled from university. This year had the smallest government-sponsored haj pilgrimage group since 2009School children continue to face pressure from education officials and police if they are known to be members of religious communities the authorities do not like. Police and education officials have brought in state-appointed Muslim clerics to intimidate children from non-Muslim faiths. A woman was expelled from a university in the capital Ashgabad [Ashgabat] for meeting with Jehovah’s Witnesses.Muslims and Jehovah’s Witnesses are known to have been sacked from state jobs in the past year, especially from the army and hospitals, because they exercised their right to freedom of religion or belief (see below).