he population of Kyrgyzstan is 86% Muslim (mainly Sunnis). Kyrgyzstan was the most relaxed towards Christians out of all the Central Asian countries after independence in 1991. However, it became overnight one of the strictest when it passed a new Religion Law in 2009. There has also been a revival of Islamic practices since the country gained independence.
Proposed amendments to tighten up the already constricting 2009 Religion Law include banning the sharing of beliefs in public and censoring all religious literature.
The law means Christians can be fined for unregistered religious activity, but simultaneously makes it difficult for them to register. Therefore, many Christians are acting illegally whenever they gather for worship. However, in the two years to September 2019, 80 churches were granted registration.
Christians converts from Islam face harassment and persecution from family and the community, especially in rural areas. Eldos, a Christian convert, fled Kyrgyzstan in 2018 after suffering terrible violence from local Muslims, when he refused to return to Islam. He was threatened and held captive for ten hours in a prosecutor’s office in an attempt to force him to drop the charges against his attackers.
Converts find it hard to get work because Islamists own many businesses. They employ only Muslims and require staff to obey their employers regarding religious practice. Emigration is affecting the economy and the church, as church leaders leave the country in search of work.
Traditionally school friendships last a lifetime, but Christian children are encountering hostility and even violence at school. Boys and girls are beaten and stoned by others, encouraged by the mullahs.
In Kyrgyz culture there is great concern about what happens to the body after death; converts fear being given Muslim funerals because there is only one cemetery for Christians in the whole country.
Pray for protection for Christian converts in Kyrgyzstan. Ask that Christian leaders will stand firm in the face of persecution. Lift up the many Christians who cannot get work to support their families unless they deny Christ. Ask that they remain faithful and that our heavenly Father will provide for them.