World Watch 2009 — Uzbekistan

uzbek-11Top 10 Nations Where Christians Suffer Worst Persecution

1. North Korea

2. Saudi Arabia

3. Iran

4. Afghanistan

5. Somalia

6. Maldives

7. Yemen

8. Laos

9. Eritrea

10. Uzbekistan

“The situation for Christians in Uzbekistan remained poor during 2008. The constitution provides for freedom of religion, but in practice the government and laws restricted these rights. Activities such as proselytizing, importing religious literature, and offering private religious instruction are forbidden or restricted in the law. In 2008 no new registrations have been issued; many churches had to go underground. In May a TV program was broadcast several times, named “In the claws of ignorance”, in which Christians were portrayed extremely negatively. Media campaigns against Christians were more frequent and fiercer. In 2008 Christians were kept in detention for a day or longer and then fined. Christians do not only face persecution from the government but also from Muslim family members, who can put much pressure on new Christians. Christians have been cut off from water supplies and/or electricity to force them out of the village or to make them renounce their faith. Christian families have been threatened, and then they move from one Mahalla (district) to another. Christians are forced to leave their houses because of threats from the Mahalla committees.” (World Watch 2009)

Prayer Challenges

Uzbekistan‘s capital Tashkent is the Islamic capital of Central Asia – and for a lot of people Islam is part of their cultural identity. Pray that people would be released from any cultural pressure to be Islamic in any way and have the freedom to explore Christianity.

Most Christians in Uzbekistan are Koreans and Russians. Pray that Christians would be able to cross the cultural divide between Uzbeks, Koreans and Russians and break down any mistrust or suspicion. uzbek-2

Uzbekistan has one of the worst records in the world for religious freedom. The government particularly targets dynamic and evangelistic churches, making it impossible for them to officially register. Telling people about God could earn you three years in prison and for opening an unregistered Christian group you would get five years. Pray that God would give Christians strength and perseverance in the face of persecution. (Operation World)

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