Central Asian Christians continue to suffer persecution
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Owning and giving a Bible are punishable offenses against the state
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There are still places in the world where it’s practically impossible to get a Bible. The Central Asia region is one such place. Religious control laws heavily restrict freedom to own or distribute Bibles and Christian literature. In Uzbekistan, Christians are often detained and fined for selling Christian books and materials.
Religious control laws are giving the government veto power over most religious groups
For Christians, religious liberty and expression are extremely restricted. Many Central Asian countries are so tightly controlled that any threat—perceived or real—against the government is met with brutal crackdowns. For example, a recent law in Tajikistan forces religious groups to provide information to the government about their leaders and followers, as well as granting authorities control over religious
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Christian converts from Islam are often facing severe persecution from their families and communities
cultural mixture of Soviet-era and Chinese government models, as well as the Islamic faith of surrounding countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran. The Central Asian church is very young and inexperienced. Before the 1990s, hardly any indigenous Central Asians became Christians. How to stay strong and trust in God when life is difficult is one of the first things Central Asian believers should learn. Christians who have con-verted from Islam often bear the brunt of persecution at the hands of family, friends, and community members. In some areas where conservative Islam is dominant, believers must keep their faith secret for fear of being executed. Christians have almost no source for Biblical training or reliable Christian education courses.
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education. Some church leaders even report that surveillance cameras are being installed in their sanctuaries to monitor preaching.
Central Asian nations stand at a crossroads between South and Southeast Asian countries and Russia resulting in a
Government crackdowns on churches are intensifying, forcing the church underground
Since the adoption of a new complicated “Law on Religious Organizations and Religious Freedom” in March 2016, Christianity in Turkmenistan requires all religious entities to re-register to operate legally. Under the law, unregistered religious organizations may not legally conduct religious activities, establish places of worship, or produce or disseminate religious materials. For any such activity, the organization will face fines ranging from 100 to 1,000 manat ($60 to $600), with higher fines for religious leaders and lower fines for members. The authorities in Uzbekistan’s southwestern Navoi [Navoiy] Region have been raiding and punishing local churches. Freedom of religion and belief without state permission is illegal. However, some churches refuse to register their congregations with the state, citing they are in accordance with international law where registration is not necessary to meet for worship.
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