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Christian gathering in Uzbekistan raided by police in bomb search claim

Country/Region: Uzbekistan, Central Asia

Secret police raided a Christian gathering in a home in Uzbekistan claiming to be searching for a bomb.

Eight police and National Security Service officers raided the home of Natalya Kim in Yukori-Chirchik on 27 February. While searching for the alleged bomb, police confiscated Christian books, a laptop and Natalya’s notebooks on living as a Christian.

books_4X3.jpg
Police confiscated Christian books
in the raid

On 9 April, a court fined 14 members of the unregistered Protestant church for an “unsanctioned meeting in a private home”; 13 of them each have to pay 629,200 Soms (US$333; £207), which is ten times the minimum monthly salary in Uzbekistan.

Natalya, who the court declared had “arranged an unauthorised gathering in her home and led a religious meeting”, was fined the much larger sum of 3,775,200 Soms (US$1,999; £1,241), which is 60 times the minimum monthly salary.

They were all convicted for “Attracting believers of one confession to another (proselytism) and other missionary activity” under Administrative Code Article 240, “Violation of the Religion Law”, and Article 184, which concerns producing or storing, with the aim of distribution, “materials containing ideas of religious extremism, separatism, and fundamentalism”.  

Natalya was additionally convicted of breaking Article 202, “Creation of the conditions for conducting unsanctioned gatherings, meetings and street demonstrations”. She had been prosecuted for similar offences in 2009, being fined on that occasion 40 times the minimum monthly salary.

The judge ordered that the seized Christian books be destroyed.

Uzbekistan’s strict religion law makes it one of the most restrictive countries for religious freedom in Central Asia. The authorities penalise those who practice their faith without state permission; between February and April this year, 28 Protestants were fined and four others warned.

The Baptist Council of Churches refuses on principle to register its churches with the state. Eight Christians from this denomination were fined recently for religious offences. Confiscated Christian books, brochures, magazines, CDs, calendars, invitation cards and hymn books were sent to the state Religious Affairs Committee.

On 7 February, ten other Baptists were convicted for offences including “Teaching religious beliefs without specialised religious education and without permission from the central organ of a [registered] religious organisation, as well as teaching religious beliefs privately”. The judge also ordered that 23 Christian magazines confiscated from the group be destroyed.

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  • 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 4 hours ago

  • Give thanks for the Christ-like responses of Christian leaders in CAR to the crisis that threatens them and their churches. They have distanced themselves from the anti-balaka militias, saying that these should not be labelled as Christian and that they hold no mandate from the churches. The leaders have also condemned the violence in the country, whatever its origin, and have called on Christians to pursue forgiveness, reconciliation and healing. Churches are hiding, defending and caring for thousands of Muslims endangered by the anti-balaka, and one of CAR’s most senior church leaders has invited the president of the country’s Islamic community to move into his church compound. Pray that this powerful witness to the grace and love of Christ will help to bring peace to the shattered country. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sat, Apr 2014 00:00

  • On this Good Friday, give thanks to God for the death of Christ and for His gift of eternal life. Praise Him too for the example of those Christians who have persevered in their faith at the risk of their lives and who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of Christ and the Gospel. Pray that their martyrdom will inspire their suffering brothers and sisters in Christ to endure whatever hardships befall them and will convince their persecutors of the truth and power of the Gospel. Pray too that their bereaved families and churches will not grieve without hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Fri, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Cry out to the Lord for Christians in the Central African Republic (CAR) who have been driven from their homes by the violence that has engulfed their country. Attacks by Islamist Séléka militants and retaliation from “anti-balaka” militias has generated a huge humanitarian crisis in which around two million people, many of them Christians, are in need of emergency assistance. Give thanks for the work of Barnabas partners who have been providing food rations to hundreds of displaced believers in the capital, Bangui, and distributing food, medicines, clothing and seeds to thousands in various regions. Pray that the aid will reach those who need it most, and that the Lord will comfort the relatives and friends of the thousands who have been killed in the fighting. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Thu, Apr 2014 00:00

  • “Jesus Christ performed tremendous miracles in all our lives through this Shalom Camp.” A pastor spoke of how God had worked through a Barnabas-sponsored weekend Bible camp for persecuted Christians in Sri Lanka. The camp was attended by believers from five different churches that had been the target of threats or attacks by Buddhist or Hindu extremists. The participants heard teaching on the Biblical basis for persecution and took part in group discussions; they came away refreshed and encouraged, and for many the camp was a time of great spiritual renewal. Give thanks to the Lord for the peace He has brought to these persecuted believers, and ask that the weekend will continue to bear much fruit in their lives. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Apr 2014 00:00

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