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Oskemen, Kazakhstan - Photo: Wikipedia / Maonya
Oskemen, Kazakhstan
Photo: Wikipedia / Maonya (cc)

Despite its claimed allegiance to United Nations policies governing freedom of religion, the country of Kazakhstan places significant restrictions on any religious practice. Members of religious groups can only gather if registered, and they can only register if their group consists of at least 50 founding members. Even then, registration is often delayed.

The New Life Pentecostal Church in Oskemen was previously registered but is now seeking to register under a new name. In response, police have visited many of the members, interrogating them with extensive questioning. In some cases, the authorities arrived at the members' homes late at night and even threatened those who did not appear to cooperate adequately. The harassment has been carrying on since May.

It is believed that the officials are trying to reduce the number of eligible members below the required fifty in order to reject the applications. The department of religious affairs has denied any involvement in the questioning.

The opposition does not apply only to those of the Christian faith. Other religious groups, such as a Hare Krishna community and followers of Islam, have also faced interrogations about their faith. The officials have likewise challenged members of these groups about their personal beliefs in an apparent effort to prevent registration of their religious communities. To review previous reports specifically addressing the opposition of Christians in Kazakhtan, visit our country report.

Prayerfully uphold the members of the New Life church, along with others facing similar challenges. May their registrations be approved and the harassment cease. Ask the Lord to grant each of the interrogated individuals patient endurance, grace and wisdom during the questioning, enabling them to answer in a way that reflects the character of Christ. Pray that the governing officials in Kazakhstan will reconsider the unjust restrictions they have placed on citizens of all religious faiths.

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Country Information

Population
19,245,793 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Kazakh (Qazaq) (68), Russian (19.3), Uzbek (3.2), Ukrainian (1.5), Uighur (1.5), Tatar (1.1), German (1), Other (4.4)

Religion (%)
Muslim (70.2), Christian (26.2), Buddhist (0.1), Other (0.2), Atheist (2.8), Unspecified (0.5)

Leader
President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev (2019)

Government type
Presidential republic

Legal system the theory and practice of the Russian Federation
Civil law system influenced by Roman-Germanic law and b

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for Kazakhstan

Pray that authorities will cease their harassment of unregistered church communities. Until then, pray believers will effectively minister the gospel despite opposition.

Pray for endurance for those believers facing these challenges.

Pray for the adage “To be a Kazakh is to be a Muslim” to be broken; pray for freedom from historic spiritual bondages and prejudices.

end

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Kazakhstan News

  • Parliament Debates New Religious Restrictions
    Kazakhstan Senate - Photo: Wikipedia / SenateKZ
    Kazakhstan Senate
    Photo: Wikipedia / SenateKZ (cc)

    On October 6th, amendments to Kazakhstan's religious laws were approved by the Parliament and then passed on to the Senate. The legislation added new restrictions to religious events conducted outside a building of worship owned by a registered re

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  • Religious Worshippers Monitored and Fined
    Oral, Kazakhstan - Photo: Wikipedia / Bereshev
    Oral, Kazakhstan
    Photo: Wikipedia / Bereshev (cc)

    Since the beginning of 2021, at least 20 cases have gone to court in Kazakhstan for holding religious meetings without state permission. The fines brought against them varied from three weeks' to four months' average wages. Amendments are also pres

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  • Appeal Fails to Halt Seizures
    New Life Curch - Photo: Ivan Kryukov
    New Life Church property in Almaty
    Photo: Ivan Kryukov (cc)

    On September 17th, a court in the city of Almaty upheld an earlier decision to seize two buildings owned by the New Life Protestant Church. The facilities were being used for worship, as well as a means of support for those suffering from

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  • Church Buildings Confiscated
    Grace Church member praying - Photo: Grace Church via Forum 18 www.forum18.org
    Church member prays outside Grace Church.
    Photo: Grace Church via Forum 18

    City officials in Kazakhstan's capital of Nur-Sultan have ordered the confiscation of the Grace Presbyterian Church building, as well as the place of worship being constructed on the same site for the Agape Pentecostal Church

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