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Friday, April 11, 2008

Uzbek authorities revoke accreditation of the head of Jewish Chabad Lubavitch movement

The Associated Press
Friday, April 11, 2008

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan: Uzbek authorities have revoked the accreditation of the local head of the Chabad Lubavitch Jewish movement, the Justice Ministry said Friday.

Ministry spokesman Zhalolbek Abdusattarov said Tashkent-based Rabbi Abe David Gurevich breached local registration rules and that his organization failed to submit correct financial and accounting reports.

Gurevich also designated himself chief rabbi in the ex-Soviet republic without seeking authorization from the relevant government agencies, the ministry said.

The Chabad Lubavitch movement will, however, continue to operate in Uzbekistan, Abdusattarov said. The movement, a New York-based organization of Hasidic Jews, enjoys strong support in the Baltics, Russia and other former republics of the Soviet Union.

Gurevich declined to comment on the announcement.

There are few reported cases of state pressure against Jewish groups in the Central Asian nation, but the denial of registration to religious groups is common.

Gurevich's secretary, Karina Loifer, and her mother, Svetlana, were murdered in June 2006. Authorities said after investigations the killing was not motivated by anti-Semitism.

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