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Turkmenistan

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Pastor Ilmurad Nurliev suffered for 18 months
in a labour camp

In August 2012 five Christians in the Lebap region of Turkmenistan were taken to court and fined for taking part in unregistered religious activity. One of them who tried to appeal was told that this was not allowed, and officials threatened to seize the family’s property if the fine was not paid.

Even though persecution has eased slightly after the death in 2006 of President Niyazov, an eccentric, megalomaniac dictator, the Turkmen authorities still do their best to suppress Christian activity. A strict Religion Law passed in 2003 requires all religious groups in Turkmenistan to register. Unregistered churches are forbidden to conduct any religious activities, including services, evangelism or literature distribution, or to provide religious education. Their meetings may be raided and their property confiscated, and they are liable to fines and imprisonment. Pastors and members have sometimes been abused or beaten by the authorities.

The procedure for registration is cumbersome, and some churches fail to obtain it despite repeated efforts. Even registered churches experience close scrutiny by the government, and they face difficulties in renting or buying property for worship and meetings. They also have to obtain permission from local authorities for every activity, and this is sometimes denied.

The publication of religious literature is forbidden. In early 2012 an elderly Christian was detained and questioned for six hours by police after he tried to print copies of a small book of his Christian poetry. He was forced to sign a statement and banned from travelling outside his home region of Dashoguz while the case was investigated. Imported literature is approved only rarely by the authorities and is allowed only for registered groups.

Turkmenistan is mainly Muslim (96%), and ethnic Turkmen Christians who have converted from Islam are treated with suspicion and ostracised to pressure them to return.

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

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  • Praise God for the release of John Short, an Australian missionary who was detained in North Korea for distributing Christian leaflets. John, who is 75 and based in Hong Kong, was reported to security officials in Pyongyang after he was spotted leaving a Christian leaflet at a Buddhist temple, an act that is illegal in North Korea. Further Korean-language Christian pamphlets were subsequently found in his hotel room. John, who was released on 3 March after two weeks in custody, was required to sign a confession probably scripted by the authorities. Other foreign missionaries arrested in North Korea have been given long prison sentences. Give thanks to God that John has escaped further punishment, and pray for him as he recovers from his traumatic ordeal. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 12 hours ago

  • Pray for Barnabas Fund partners in South Sudan who have been supporting Christians forced from their homes by violence. Conflict between supporters of President Salva Kiir and his sacked deputy Riek Machar in December and January displaced around 860,000 people. Churches were burned down and a number of pastors killed, while many people lost their belongings and were left destitute. Give thanks that churches in and around the capital, Juba, were able to provide food and other essentials to many families with help from Barnabas. Pray that they may continue to be salt and light in their country at this unstable time (Matthew 5:13-16), and that it will soon be safe for displaced Christians to return home. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Pray for the residents of a mainly Christian village in Borno state, Northern Nigeria, in the aftermath of a horrific attack by Boko Haram militants on 15 February. Ask for God’s comfort for the relatives and friends of the 106 people in Izghe who were gunned down and slaughtered in their houses or in the open as they tried to flee. Pray for strength for the numerous residents who were wounded or whose properties were looted and torched. Pray too for the many Christians who fled into the neighbouring state after the attack, and ask that the Christian community in the North of Nigeria will be preserved in the face of Islamist violence. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Violent attacks by militants from the Islamist group Boko Haram continue unabated in Northern Nigeria. On one horrendous day of violence on 26 January, at least 138 people were killed. A church in Wada Chakawa village in Adamawa state was targeted; the attackers locked the congregation inside and then detonated bombs, shooting and cutting the throats of people who tried to escape. They then went on a four-hour rampage in the village. Later the same day, Kawuri village in neighbouring Borno state was burned to the ground. Boko Haram is fighting to establish an Islamic state, and Christians are among its main targets. Pray that the Nigerian authorities will succeed in containing its insurgency. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we give You thanks on this Easter Day for the living hope that You have given us and all Your people through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (1 Peter 1:3). We pray that the prospect of an enduring inheritance and future salvation will encourage our persecuted brothers and sisters to persevere in their faith, whatever may happen to them. We pray that we too may be sustained by this hope in the sufferings that we experience for the sake of Christ. We ask that the joy and resurrection power of the Lord will give strength and peace to persecuted believers today and every day. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Apr 2014 00:00

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