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Pastor Batyr - Photo: Release International www.releaseinternational.org
Pastor Batyr
Photo: Release International

Throughout Central Asia, Christians are facing worship bans, arrest and torture as Islamic nationalism gains ground. In late August, we reported on a group arrested in Tajikistan for distributing Christian literature (read the report). Similar incidents are happening regularly in other neighbouring Central Asian countries, according to a recent report from VOMC's partner ministry, Release International.

A recent survey revealed that 263 people had been punished in Kazakhstan during 2017 for hosting religious meetings, offering religious literature, or other "religious crimes." Most of those prosecuted were Protestant Christians. The clampdown continued into 2018 with almost 80 prosecutions within the first six months.

Churches in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan face regular harassment from authorities for meeting without a permit, while those same authorities refuse to issue the necessary permits. In Kazakhstan, Christians are perceived as a threat to the state. Homes and church buildings are regularly searched. Even praying together can be deemed illegal.

Throughout the region, Christians from Muslim backgrounds are facing the worst persecution. One church leader, Pastor Batyr, recounts: "If a Muslim decides to follow Christ, then he is considered to be a traitor -- a traitor to our people, our culture and our nation. All former Muslims who believe in Christ are secret and underground. They can never be officially recognized."

Release International has just released a 12-minute video report on the situation in Central Asia. To view this fascinating report, click here.

Remember the Christian workers throughout Central Asia who are spreading the Good News of the Gospel. Pray for deliverance on behalf of those imprisoned for their faith; that, in the meanwhile, God will mightily use their ministry to reach fellow prisoners and guards. May the Lord give His people throughout the region a new vision for how they can best reach out to those around them with His transforming love.

Current Ministry Project

VOMC has been collaborating with project partners over the past couple of years to provide Christian women needed affirmation and training so they can be more fully equipped for ministry and further encouraged to serve the Lord and others with a greater sense of comradery and unity.

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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