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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 religious organization. Already, any religious community not in receipt of an official state registration is presently being banned, and the process of obtaining such registration has proven to be very difficult. Under the new amendments, any activity taking place at a different location from that of the registered place of worship will require approval at least ten business days in advance, along with a detailed explanation of what the event is to entail. The approval of these religious events rests with local officials who could withhold permission for many reasons.

Along with the onerous registration approval process, the probability of arbitrary denials, and additional restrictions on events, there is now this further concern that the legislation applies to any meeting held at a location not owned by the religious organization. As a result, members of churches congregating in rented facilities are concerned that their meetings will now fall under these new restrictions and, therefore, require permission for each individual church event.

On December 2nd, the Senate approved the legislation, adding new amendments. Restrictions against onetime religious events remained in effect. The amended approval process now requires precise details, including the date and time, how many people will be involved, travel routes and number of vehicles needed, and whether loudspeakers are to be used. Senate amendments clarified that such approval is not required for regular meetings held in facilities not owned by the organization, such as rentals.

The amended legislation has recently been returned to Parliament for approval. While thankful for some of the clarifications, religious leaders remain concerned over these newly stipulated requirements and how they are actually to be enacted. "Much will depend on the instructions of religious affairs authorities and the discretion of local or national officials," states a legal specialist. For more information on the challenges encountered by Christians in Kazakhstan, and/or to review previously posted reports, go to our country report.

As Kazakhstan's politicians finalize the details of this new legislation, pray that God's wisdom will be operating among them, steering and guiding their decisions in favour of our Christian brothers and sisters. In the process, may all restrictive legislation be overturned, allowing churches the freedom to rightfully honour God and gather together for worship. Also prayerfully uphold the country's Christian leaders as they endeavour to effectively lead their congregations and reach out with the Good News of Jesus – the 'Gospel of Peace' – in their communities.

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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

    ...
  • 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

    ...
  • 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

    ...
  • 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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