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New amendments could further
restrict Christians.

Christians in Azerbaijan fear that new amendments to the restrictive Religion Law will increase state restrictions on freedom of religion or belief in the country. The amendments, adopted June 10, could make it difficult to determine which individuals are able to serve as religious leaders. A news article states that a "religious person engaged in religious activity is a person with higher or secondary specialized religious education." While this definition does not specify that only "professional" religious workers can conduct activities such as religious education or leading worship, officials could use the new definitions to ban individuals from any religious activity not specially authorized by the law.

Churches and other religious communities worry that the new amendments are a covert way of requiring those still waiting for re-registration to begin the entire process again, offering more opportunities for officials to impose pressure on communities and stop them from gaining legal status.

Pray for Christians in Azerbaijan as they go about their ministry for Christ amid these new amendments. Pray they will continue to echo Peter's sentiment and be determined to obey God regardless of what man says (Acts 5:29). Pray true religious freedom will be upheld in Azerbaijan.

To find out more about the hardships Christians face 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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