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Uzbekistan

On November 10th, police in Andijan raided the private flat of Irina Stepanova, a member of a local state-registered church. Police alleged that they were looking for an illegally stored gun but instead concentrated on the confiscation of her Christian books. The five officials who entered Irina's home did so unannounced -- without a legally required search warrant and proper identification. She now faces charges for possessing Christian books and other related materials.

A little over a week later, 14 officials from various agencies, including the Extremism and Terrorism Department of the local police station, raided the home of Stanislav Kim in Urgench. Believers visiting the home to participate in a Sunday morning worship gathering were arrested, interrogated, threatened, and had their Christian books confiscated. When one of the participants admitted under interrogation to reading Christian books, their personal collection (including a Bible) was confiscated during a raid that took place shortly thereafter.

In other areas nearing the capital city of Tashkent, police raided the private homes of congregation members affiliated with another state-registered church -- confiscating literature such as the United Nations' Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief. During the raids and searches, police committed multiple violations of legal procedure. Despite the officials' infractions, three people (including a pastor) were fined for exercising freedom of religion and belief.

In Uzbekistan, only religious communities with state registration are allowed to exist, a restriction that does not comply with international human rights law. In addition, the strict censorship of all religious literature is enforced; and even texts that have passed the state's censorship are routinely confiscated. Officials have also ordered that believers are not permitted to read religious texts -- such as The Holy Bible -- in their homes. As a result, citizens with beliefs differing to those sanctioned by the government are afraid to keep religious literature in their homes and, with great sadness, some have had to destroy their own religious texts due to the country's stringent regulations.

In the midst of the opposition and resulting restrictions, pray that the Christians in Uzbekistan will remain firmly rooted in their faith. May those affected by the closures and loss of resources be reminded of God's ability to provide daily spiritual manna for their sustenance and continued growth as He brings about restoration (Joel 2:25-27; Zechariah 9:12). Also pray for the officials responsible for enforcing the restrictions, in hopes that their spiritual eyes will be opened to the truth of the Gospel so they can personally behold the "Living Word" and serve as catalysts of revival in their nation. May the Lord indeed pour out His Holy Spirit, turning the hearts of all who bear witness to His transformative love towards Him and His ways which lead to abundant and everlasting life (John 3:16; John 10:10).

Current Ministry Project

VOMC has been working with project partners over the past couple of years to affirm and equip Christian women for continued ministry and to encourage unity among them.

Project Fund: Equipping the Saints

Country Information

Population
30,842,796 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Uzbek (83.8), Tajik (4.8), Kazakh (2.5), Russian (2.3) Karakalpak (2.2), Tatar (1.5), other (4.4)

Religion (%)
Islam (88), Eastern Orthodox (9), other (3)

Leader
President Shavkat Mirziyoyev (2016)

Government type
Presidential republic; highly authoritarian

Legal system
Civil law system

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for Uzbekistan

Thank you for praying on behalf of our brothers and sisters in Uzbekistan who are undergoing severe mistreatment by those governing over them. Ask the Lord to remind these persevering believers that they are truly His beloved children. As their Heavenly Father, He is the One who governs their souls and eternal destiny. May they have a heightened awareness of His abiding presence, everlasting love, help in times of trouble – and whatever else they specifically need – as conveyed through the infallible promises of His powerful Word.

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Uzbekistan News

  • Christian Fined for Distributing Magazines
    Magazines

    This past Christmas, a neighbourhood celebration in Uzbekistan was hosted by Tatyana Akhmadiyeva, a member of a local Baptist church. At the event, she offered Christian magazines to 15 of her neighbours. Local authorities received a report about the distribution and summoned Tatyana for questioning

    ...
  • Registration Applications Denied
    Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tashkent - Photo: Wikimedia Commons https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Evangelical_Lutheran_Church_in_Tashkent_15-12.JPG Bobyrr, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
    A Lutheran church in
    Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
    Photo: Wikipedia / Bobyrr (cc)

    Although religious communities in Uzbekistan would like to obtain official permission (to exist), as required by the state, all their applications have been blocked. Protestant churches, Shia Muslim communities, along with gr

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  • Obstacles to Registration
    Prayer in the desert
    Join Uzbek believers in prayer as they seek the Lord for wisdom in these cases.

    A small number of religious communities in Uzbekistan received their registration in late 2019. However, many others are encountering major obstacles in their attempts to obtain registration, which would allow them to fun

    ...
  • Woman Killed for Her Faith
    Tashkent, Uzbekistan - Photo: Wikipedia / Atilin
    Tashkent, Uzbekistan
    Photo: Wikipedia / Atilin (c)

    A Christian mother in Uzbekistan was killed by her husband on February 9th because she had recently accepted Christ. The attack happened at the Tashkent airport as she was attempting to flee the country.

    Problems for "Umida" (not her real name) beg

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