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Tajikistan

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A church in Tajikistan was able to buy and register this property with help from Barnabas

Christian worship and witness are tightly controlled by the government of Tajikistan. It suppresses and punishes churches and other organisations that do anything independently of state control.

Madamin Chariyev, a Christian from the capital Dushanbe, was fined in September 2013 for “illegally importing unlicensed religious literature”. He and two other members of his church had received copies of a Christian magazine from Belarus. Although these were devotional materials intended only for the Christians’ personal use, the authorities insisted that they should have been checked and licensed by the state. Such “expert analysis” of Christian books and magazines is unaffordable for small churches.

The censorship of all religious literature is just one part of the repressive official regulation of the churches in Tajikistan. In the past four years the government has expanded the laws that limit religious freedom. In effect it claims the right to approve, restrict or prevent any kind of Christian worship, ministry or mission.

The 2009 Religion Law forced all churches to re-register with the state and established demanding and intrusive registration requirements. Unregistered Christian activity was criminalised. Evangelism and private Christian education (except by parents) were also prohibited, and official permission must be given to provide Christian instruction. There are no licensed Christian schools in the whole country, and unregistered schools are closed down. Administrative and penal amendments in 2011 and 2012 introduced new penalties, including large fines and prison terms, for religion-related offences. A 2011 law effectively bans young people under 18 from participating in Christian worship. Religious communities are liable to be punished for engaging in activities not specifically mentioned in their statutes.

Minority communities that are believed to be influenced from abroad, such as Protestant Christians, are particularly liable to repression under these draconian regulations. Christians make up only about 1% of the population of Tajikistan and are therefore especially vulnerable. However, the stifling state controls also apply to the Muslim majority. Families and communities of Tajik Christians who have converted from Islam may put pressure on them to reconvert.

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    • It is reported that Hindu radicals have planned an event to convert 4,000 Christian and 1,000 Muslim families to Hinduism on Christmas Day. Pray for Christians in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India who are facing increasing pressure and violence since the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party gained political power on 26 May. Pray that God will grant strength to His people so that they will remain faithful. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 13 hours ago

    • Praise the Lord that around 6,500 homeless Christians in Kandhamal District of Orissa State, India, now have proper homes to live in, with help from Barnabas Aid. Their houses had been damaged or destroyed more than six years ago in two bouts of severe anti-Christian violence by Hindu radicals in 2007-8. Some 60,000 Christians were made homeless. Continue to pray for the speedy completion of more houses currently under construction. Pray also that God will continue to heal the victims of this terrible trauma. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Dec 2014 00:00

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