After the Soviet collapse in 1991, civil war broke out with various regional warlords fighting for power until 1997. Secular national forces prevailed, and they continue to shape political and religious policy.
Freedom of religion exists in Tajikistan, but barely. Religious teaching, publishing and proselytism are very difficult if not illegal. Registering churches is also very difficult.
In April 2009, a restrictive new Religion Law was implemented. Among other items, the law imposes limitations on where and how many mosques can be opened, imposes state censorship of religious literature and enforces state restrictions and control on religious education. However, government officials say these limitations do not restrict religious activity.
The Christian population has been massively reduced by emigration. It was and remains largely Russian Orthodox. The civil war and its aftermath drove out the majority; most of the remainder are cultural/nominal Christians with little desire to share the gospel with indigenous peoples.
Although Islam is the religion of 94 percent of the population, only a small fraction practices “pure” Islam. Most are influenced by folk superstitions and Zoroastrian beliefs. Mosques sprouted up everywhere in the years following independence, but now the government places severe restrictions on mosque building, as independent non-state controlled Islam is a target for a government hostile to everything outside state control. Tajikistan’s proximity to Iran and Afghanistan makes it vulnerable to Islamism.
- Pray God will provide for the physical needs of the people of Tajikistan.
- Pray freedom of religion will be respected by the government.
- Pray for extremism to be restrained and that Muslims might have unprecedented opportunities to discover Christ.