Friday, July 1, 2011

Recent outbursts of persecution in Uzbekistan

At least four Christians were
persecuted recently in Uzbekistan.
At least four Christians faced religious persecution in the former Soviet country of Uzbekistan this week, reports the World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission (WEA-RLC).

One woman is recovering from a concussion resulting from severe beatings. Another woman was fined for giving the New Testament to a child. One Christian man was threatened with an axe by a police officer, while another man was assaulted by police.

These incidents of persecution come in the wake of a recent effort by Uzbekistan’s president, Islam Karimov, to maintain his power over the repressed people. The WEA-RLC notes his renewed dictatorial actions seem to be a preemptive effort to stem any sign of revolt by the people, who may try to emulate the revolutions taking place in the Middle East and North Africa.

Karimov claims the intensified restrictions are in response to Muslim extremists such as the Islamic Jihad Union, which targeted government installations in 2009. However, civil restrictions on minorities in Uzbekistan predate these recent events.

Religious communities in Uzbekistan are currently required to register. Unregistered churches are forcibly closed and evangelism, missionary activity and religious instruction are formally forbidden.

While the distribution of religious material is permitted by Uzbekistan law, it must first be approved by the State Committee for Religious Affairs. Bibles and other Christian literature and media are often confiscated by officials.

Pray for Uzbekistan’s Christians!
  • Pray for continued strength for Christians facing charges and harassment from authorities.
  • Pray that the government of Uzbekistan will respect human rights in the county.
  • Pray that Uzbekistan’s Christians will continue to witness Christ, remembering that the Gospel will accomplish when and what God pleases (Isaiah 55:11).

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