Tajikistan authorities burn calendars sent to churches because of Bible verses
Calendars sent to Christians in Tajikistan were seized and later burned by the authorities because they contained verses from the Bible.
The consignment of 5,000 calendars arrived on 18 December 2018 for distribution to registered evangelical churches in Tajikistan.
Customs officials impounded the calendars when they saw the Bible verses and referred the issue to the Central Committee on Religion that controls religious affairs in the country.
Authorities gave the order for the destruction of the literature and on 16 January church members were “invited” to watch the calendars being burned. They were also fined 4,000 TJS (£321, €369, $422).
A church leader said, “We were given an official response that the importation of calendars with text from the Bible is not desirable.” He explained that the authorities had also stated that the number of calendars was much higher than the number of Christians they believed to be in the country. He said that the churches were continuing to pray for the officials behind the order, adding, “We know that God rules everything!”
Import and distribution of religious literature must be approved by authorities in Tajikistan and similar confiscations have led to Christians being imprisoned. In July 2017, Pastor Bakhrom Kholmatov, a father-of-three in his early 40s, was jailed for three years after police confiscated “subversive” hymnbooks from his church.
From Barnabas Fund contacts