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Apr 16

Written by: Diana West
Wednesday, April 16, 2008 9:24 AM 

At the end of report about arrests and beatings of Christians in the Islamic nation of   Uzbekistan:

Analysts say authorities seem to misuse a public outcry against the recently released anti-Islamic film 'Fitna' of Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders to target religious communities viewed as dangerous to the government’s powerbase.

Uzbekistan's President Islam Abduganiyevich Karimov, who has dominated the political landscape since 1989, is seen by critics as taking a ruthlessly authoritarian approach to all forms of opposition.

Officials have declined to comment on the latest reported crackdown on religious groups.

"Don't disturb us with stupid questions about religious liberties," said Begzot Kadyrov, an official of the government's Religious Affairs Committee, in reported remarks. 

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