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Several Christians were targeted by authorities in the town of Sumgait, Azerbaijan, in recent weeks. On May 15, police raided the Sunday morning service of Praise Church, taking place at a local restaurant. The officials wrote down the names of all believers present and took them to the police station. Three days later, two church members were each fined about two weeks' average local wages. That same day, police went to the home of another local pastor and questioned him about his Christian activity.

On May 17, approximately 20 police and officials of the State Committee raided the private home of a South Korean citizen, where members of another church had gathered. Some 60 Bibles and other Christian books were confiscated and those present were taken to the police station, where they were questioned and forced to write statements. At last report, the books had not been returned.

Thank the Lord for the faithfulness of the believers and their desire to worship Him amid opposition. Pray for continued strength for Christians facing charges and harassment from authorities in Azerbaijan. Pray especially for wisdom for church leaders when dealing with opposition. Pray the Lord will continue to spread the gospel in this nation.

For more on the challenges facing followers of Christ in Azerbaijan, go to the Azerbaijan Country Report.

Country Information

Designation
Persecuted

Population
10,282,283 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Azerbaijani (91.6), Lezghin (2), Russian (1.3), Armenian (1.3), Talysh (1.3), other (2.4)

Religions (%)
Islam (97.3), Christianity (2.6), other (0.1)

Leader
President Ilham Aliyev (2003)

Government type
Presidential republic

Legal system
Civil law system

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for Azerbaijan

Pray for peace within the hearts of the Azerbaijani people who are living amid political instability. May the country's governmental authorities be willing to grant Christians their fundamental freedoms, enabling them to worship freely and share their faith openly with others of their communities.

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