School children in streets of Bukhara, Uzbekistan
Can you imagine you cannot give Bible as a gift and bring your children to church!
In December 2018 in Uzbekistan, police searched a woman’s flat in Bukhara to seize a New Testament Shukhrat Safarov had given her as a gift. A court fined Safarov about two weeks’ average wages and ordered the book destroyed. The government’s Religious Affairs Committee claimed that using the New Testament for “missionary purposes” is illegal.
And after a large November 2018 raid on Baptists meeting for Sunday morning worship in Yashnobod District in the capital Tashkent, police returned some of the Christian literature they confiscated. However, they have not returned children’s literature, song books, and music notes.
8-YEAR-OLD CHILD FACED HOSTILE QUESTIONING BY OFFICIALS
In one case, an 8-year-old child was taken from school without his parents’ permission to face hostile questioning by officials. Police and schoolteachers have told children that if they attend any place of worship – including mosques and churches – they will be punished.
After the boy was allowed home from school, officials summoned him and his mother. The family was threatened with fines or a short-term jail sentence if they continued to attend their local church.
Children and young people are not formally banned from attending meetings for worship, but officials frequently pressure parents and communities of all faiths to stop them attending religious meetings.
In Uzbekistan, the police, secret services and urban authorities monitor religious activities by bugging homes, tapping phones, infiltrating groups and monitoring church services. Non-registered places of worship are raided, religious materials confiscated, believers interrogated, leaders arrested and churches fined. Russian Orthodox churches experience fewer problems from government as they do not usually attempt to make contact with the Uzbek population.
Source: Forum 18
- For Christians facing increasing pressure, raids and searches across Uzbekistan.
- Pray for strength and courage for families, and especially children, that are being targeted and intimidated by the state.
- Pray for wisdom for church leaders as they try to lead churches under intense scrutiny and fear of arrest.
Uzbekistan Ranks no.17 in the WORLD WATCH LIST; Source of persecution: Dictatorial paranoia
In cooperation with local partners and churches, Open Doors supports the persecuted church in Central Asia through:
- Literature distribution
- Biblical and vocational training
- Socio-economic development
- Women’s ministry
- Medical ministry