Barnabas Fund - International Headquarters River Street, Pewsey, Wilthire. Phone: +44 1672 565030 Latitude: 51 deg 23 min 18 sec N Longitude: 1 deg 45 min 48 sec W .
Uzbekistan: Sunday worship service of la...

Email:

Uzbekistan: Sunday worship service of large church raided by five government agencies simultaneously

To

Email address:
Separate multiple addresses with a comma (,). Maximum of 10

From

Your name:
Your email address:
Security test:
Please enter the numbers that appear here in the box below.
refresh captcha
CAPTCHA Image
Security code:

Details provided here will never be used in any other context

Uzbekistan: Sunday worship service of large church raided by five government agencies simultaneously

Project(s): 57-776

Country/Region: Uzbekistan

A morning service at the Tashkent City Church of Christ, one of the largest and most active churches in the Uzbek capital, was raided by several government agencies during morning worship on Sunday 16 May. Eight members of the church were arrested and have been punished with a mixture of fines and short prison sentences, although they do not believe they have broken any law. Meanwhile Uzbekistan’s Christians fear that the real aim of the raid is to close down the church.


First the police and National Security Service (NSS) secret police, followed by the Tax Inspectorate, Fire Brigade, and Sanitary-Epidemiological Service, converged on the church and stayed for five hours. The police had arrived without a warrant, but filmed everyone who was present, including the children’s classes, and confiscated literature, computers and money from the offering. They took passport details and car number-plates of the 500 adults present as well as the names and addresses of the children.

After the raid the church was officially sealed by the police, preventing the congregation from having further access, and the Fire Brigade cut off the electricity.

The church has been legally registered since 1999, has carefully followed official procedures, and has never before been accused of breaching any regulations.

Eight members of the church were held overnight and then instructed to attend a court hearing. Three people, including the assistant pastor, Artur Avanesyan, were sentenced to 15 days imprisonment and immediately detained. The five others were fined between five and 80 times the minimum monthly wage. The judge also ordered that the computers confiscated from the church should be handed over to the state.

Christians could not believe the unjust verdicts and the way the trials were conducted, one observer stating, "Everyone was shocked at the verdict because the defendants proved in court that they were innocent and there were so many violations of legal procedure.”

Christians are planning to appeal to the President of Uzbekistan and other authorities. There is grave concern that the true aim of the raid is to close the church down completely. A Christian from an unregistered church in Tashkent commented to Barnabas Fund how shocked she was to hear of such an attack on a legally registered church: “If they do that to the Church of Christ, what will become of the rest of us?”

Growing persecution of Protestants

Uzbekistan has a small Christian minority with Muslims making up about 77% of the population. In recent years there has been growing persecution of Protestant Christians, with raids on church services, short jail sentences and huge fines becoming commonplace. In October 2009 Christian leaders in Tashkent were given heavy fines and prison sentences for running a Christian children’s camp. In February 2010 13 members of a small church in Tashkent were fined and literature, including Bibles, was confiscated. In March 2010 a birthday party in Tashkent was raided and 10 women from a registered church were given hefty fines. In April 2010, in the southern Surkhandarya Region, two Protestants were given short prison sentences for engaging in evangelism. On 10 April 2010 a Christian youth conference was raided and those attending were taken to the police station, where the police photographed them and took their fingerprints. On 12 April 2010 a church in Tashkent, whose members had been providing food for homeless people, was raided.

Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Fund, comments:

Christians in Uzbekistan are amongst the most courageous anywhere in the world, as they boldly continue with their ministry and witness despite growing pressure and persecution. We at Barnabas Fund are privileged to assist and strengthen them in a number of practical ways. Please remember them in your prayers, and give as the Lord leads you.”

 

Donate Today

Barnabas Fund helps Christians in Uzbekistan, including new believers, through income-generation projects, medical needs, wells, winter feeding programmes, orphan care, Christian training conferences and seminars, support for full-time Christian workers and in other ways.

If you can help to strengthen our faithful, persecuted brothers and sisters in Uzbekistan, please click to donate online using our secure server (Please quote project reference 57-776 Uzbekistan General Fund).

If you prefer to telephone, dial: 0800 587 4006 from within the UK or +44 1672 565031 from outside the UK. Please quote project reference 57-776 Uzbekistan General Fund.

If you prefer to send a cheque by post: Click this link for the address of our regional office. Please quote project reference 57-776 Uzbekistan General Fund.

 

Please Pray:
  • Pray that the authorities will not try to close the Tashkent City Church of Christ but will let the church continue to function without further harassment.

  • Pray for encouragement for the congregation of the church, especially the children, so that they will stay strong in their faith despite the pressure they are being placed under and the threats made against them.

  • Pray for protection for the assistant pastor and two church members who are currently serving prison sentences.
Help us: Share this article

Email:

Uzbekistan: Sunday worship service of large church raided by five government agencies simultaneously

To

Email address:
Separate multiple addresses with a comma (,). Maximum of 10

From

Your name:
Your email address:
Security test:
Please enter the numbers that appear here in the box below.
refresh captcha
CAPTCHA Image
Security code:

Details provided here will never be used in any other context

christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

Other articles

Follow Barnabas

or

receive news & appeal emails as they are published

From Twitter

From Twitter_icon

    Daily prayer

    Daily prayer_icon
    • Five Christians have been charged with murder in Laos after a sick woman sought prayer at her local church, converted to Christianity and later died. Mrs Chan, from Saisomboon village in Savannakhet province, had been ill for two years when she approached the church. Her health improved for a short time, and she and her eight grown-up children came to faith in Christ. The sons and daughters wanted a Christian burial ceremony, but the authorities forbade this unless they renounced their faith, which they refused to do. When Christians in the area protested, five were arrested and subsequently charged with Mrs Chan’s murder. Pray that the God of justice will have compassion on His people (Isaiah 30:18) and ensure their acquittal from this false accusation. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 4 hours ago

    • A Christian from Loynam village in the Savannakhet province of Laos was arrested on the morning of 29 May and tied to a post before being imprisoned. Two weeks earlier, police and village security officers had gone to Mr Sort’s home and threatened him with eviction from the village and confiscation of all his property if he did not give up his faith. He refused, despite repeated attempts to coerce him. The village chief then seized around £300 of Mr Sort’s money. Give thanks that our brother, who has been a Christian for less than two years, has stood firm in his faith, and ask the Lord to renew his courage and strength (1 Corinthians 16:13). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Thu, Aug 2014 00:00

    • Iraqi Christians are losing even previously safe havens under the relentless assault of ISIS. On 25 June, the militant group attacked the historic Christian town of Qaraqosh, near Mosul, driving its mainly Christian population of around 40,000 to flee. Many Christians from Mosul had gone there after the fall of their own city earlier in the month. Kurdish forces were able to repel ISIS from the town, allowing some people to return to their homes for the time being, but their security remains extremely precarious. Pray that the ISIS advance will be stopped and that the Iraqi security forces will be able to regain the captured territory. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Aug 2014 00:00

    • Heavenly Father, we cry out to You for the Christians left in Mosul, mostly elderly and sick, as they now face the threat of sharia penalties introduced by ISIS: the amputation of limbs for thieves, crucifixion for criminals and the death penalty for apostasy. We pray that You will protect them from the brutality of the militants. We pray for peace and healing for those who have already been threatened or attacked, and for the safe return of those who have been kidnapped. We pray too for those struggling to pay the humiliating jizya tax that the militants have imposed. We ask that the attempt to restore a united Islamic state under one ruler in the cross-border territory controlled by ISIS will come to nothing. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Aug 2014 00:00

    • The militant jihadist group ISIS launched a terrifying attack on Mosul, the second city of Iraq, on 6 June. They seized weapons, freed prisoners and looted and torched church buildings. Three days later, police came to senior church leaders there and advised the Christian community to leave. They fled immediately, leaving everything behind as they sought refuge in the Nineveh valley. The following day Mosul fell to the rebels. Barnabas sent emergency aid to support the Christians in their desperate need. The militants then advanced south, prompting Christians also to leave the city of Kirkuk. Pray for provision and protection for our displaced brothers and sisters and that they will find safety in the Kurdish areas of northern Iraq. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Aug 2014 00:00

    © Barnabas Fund 1997 - 2014 All rights reserved.
    Barnabas Fund & Barnabas Aid are registered trade marks