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Kyrgyzstan

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These Christians belong to a church planted by evangelists who received support from Barnabas

In 2013 Kyrgyzstan tightened up its already repressive Religion Law. New rules on the production, distribution and importing of religious literature have imposed a higher level of censorship on Christian materials. Groups that are seen as “non-traditional” and therefore suspect, such as Protestant Christians, are most likely to face problems, and if their literature is branded as “extremist”, they may find themselves banned altogether.

The Religion Law of 2009 requires every congregation to apply for registration. This is a cumbersome and difficult process and requires the church to have 200 founding members. Unregistered religious activity is banned, as well as worship in homes and in public locations. Registered groups are subject to intrusive monitoring by the authorities, who may attend services, take photographs and ask questions. Religious literature must be examined by state “experts” for possible extremism, and its distribution in public places is prohibited. The law also restricts evangelism and forbids the involvement of children in religious groups.

Kyrgyzstan is 83% Muslim, and the Christian minority of around 15% is subject to discrimination; Muslims sometimes influence village elders to make life difficult for them. In particular, Christians living in villages are often refused permission to bury deceased believers in their home village. Among the ethnic Kyrgyz, leaving Islam is seen not only as apostasy but also as a betrayal of one’s Kyrgyz identity and family; converts often face severe pressure and threats from their relatives and communities. Many Christians have emigrated, reducing congregational numbers and depriving churches of leadership.

The majority of the population of Kyrgyzstan is Muslim, but often only nominally. For centuries Kyrgyzstan was ruled by foreigners who imposed their religion on the people, and Christianity is sometimes seen as the religion of non-indigenous Russians, Ukrainians and Germans. Yet over recent years the number of known Kyrgyz believers has been growing steadily.

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

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    • As the Syrian civil war rages on, the militant Islamist group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) now controls extensive territory in eastern Syria. The group is acutely hostile to Christians, who are suffering grievous oppression under its rule. The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has named Syria as one of the world’s worst violators for the first time, saying that the crisis “has devolved largely into a sectarian conflict” and “represents one of the worst situations in the world for religious freedom”, with abuses being committed by all sides. Before the war, it was easier to be a Christian in Syria than almost anywhere else in the Arab world. Pray that the US and other Western governments will continue to work for a resolution of the conflict and for religious freedom for all Syria’s citizens. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 21 hours ago

    • Give thanks that members of a Pakistani Christian family who have been trapped in bonded labour for years have been rescued by Barnabas partners. The owner of the brick kiln where they worked had kept them enslaved by withholding their wages and forcing them to take out a loan from him. When they tried to leave, he made them return, and he beat, tortured and threatened to kill them. The father of the family died in 2013 as a result of illness and weakness. But earlier this year, his widow sought help from our partners, and they obtained a court order for the recovery of the family. Pray for the three members who have already been rescued as they recuperate at a safe house. Pray too for the efforts to secure the freedom of six others still held by the owner. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Fri, Aug 2014 00:00

    • About 1,500 Christians staged a protest in Lahore, Pakistan in June 2014 over the grabbing of church-owned property by the government of Punjab. Over ten large properties, including a church, schools, hospitals and graveyards, have been taken. Christian leaders met with the Lahore District Coordination Officer on 15 June to demand the return of the latest school to be seized, but when they failed to get a positive response, Christian protestors took to the streets. Pray that the provincial government will respect the property rights of the churches. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Thu, Aug 2014 00:00

    • Praise God that Pakistan’s Supreme Court has instructed the government to take specific steps to protect religious minorities from violence and intolerance. The ruling was issued partly in response to the deadly attack on All Saints Church in Peshawar in September 2013, which claimed over 100 lives. The court ordered the formation of a National Council for Minority Rights, a special police force to protect places of worship, and a taskforce to develop strategies to counter intolerance, along with further corrective measures. Campaigners for the rights of Christians in Pakistan welcomed the moves but expressed reservations about whether they would be implemented. Pray that the measures will achieve a tangible improvement in the condition of the country’s Christians. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Aug 2014 00:00

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