Published: 00:01 GMT Daylight Time - Thursday 05 April 2012
Lent Prayer - Uzbekistan
“I have prepared an axe for you, which will be flying after you, observing you, and if need be get you.” This was the threat made by a senior police officer last year to Anvar Rajapov, a Christian in Uzbekistan. Mr Rajapov was fined 80 times the minimum monthly wage for evangelising and holding illegal religious meetings following a raid on his home in Tashkent. Local Christians believe Mr Rajapov was targeted because he had left Islam to follow Christ.
|A minaret in Uzbekistan,
where religious freedom is severely restricted and Christians experience harassment and restrictions
Image: Nikolaus, Wikimedia commons
Uzbekistan is officially a secular state, but a strict religion law severely limits all religious activities, making it one of the most restrictive countries for religious freedom in Central Asia. Churches have to register, but the process is difficult and does not guarantee freedom from harassment. Christians are not allowed to share their faith with Muslims or to teach Christianity privately. In the autonomous republic of Karakalpakstan, where persecution is especially severe, it is even illegal to own a Bible. Police frequently raid all types of Christian gatherings, from those held in churches to meetings taking place in private homes. In one example from 2011 a Baptist church in Tashkent was raided, Bibles were seized and the Bible Society of Uzbekistan was fined over the importing of Bibles, and a Christian woman was fined for giving a children’s Bible to a work colleague.
Some 85% of the population of Uzbekistan is Muslim, and the government provides them with some official support. Churches that contain many Muslim-background believers are therefore especially vulnerable, and converts are often ostracised from their communities or threatened and beaten.
Barnabas Fund projects include:
- Barnabas Fund supports a number of projects to help Christians in Uzbekistan. We cannot mention them individually, but donations to the Uzbekistan General Fund (Ref. 57-776) will be used for these projects.
This article is taken from
“Praying for the Persecuted Church in Lent 2012” -.