The United States Department of State announced on Wednesday 13th April that Tajikistan has, for the first time, been designated as a “Country of Particular Concern” (CPC) because of its record on religious freedom.
The Central Asian state of Tajikistan has an estimated population of 7.9 million, more than 90% of whom are Muslim. Around 1% of population are Christian.
Repressive government restrictions apply to all religious groups, including its Muslim majority, and the Tajik government uses examples of Islamic extremism to justify its stance against individuals and groups taking part in certain religious activities.
Laws introduced in 2009 required all churches to re-register under demanding and intrusive registration requirements. Unregistered Christian activity was criminalised, and administrative and penal amendments in 2011 and 2012 introduced new penalties, including large fines and prison terms for religion-related offences.
Christians are often viewed by the authorities as spying on and trying to destroy the political system. Believers from Muslim backgrounds face additional pressure to renounce their faith from families and local communities.
Barnabas Fund has recently received details from a pastor in Tajikistan who received a threatening phone call. “The stranger called the church with a hidden phone number and introduced himself as Muslim and threatened to blow up our church in a few days”, the pastor wrote. “This was repeated twice.”
- Pray for Christians in Tajikistan, who face growing pressure against them from the government as well as from families a communities. Pray for a strong faith, opportunities to meet together and encourage each other and for protection over them and their families.
- Pray for the Tajik Church as it faces increasing restrictions from the government, Pray that the Tajik church will grow, both in numbers and in depth of faith, and for good resources for church leaders as they seek to disciple new believers.
- Pray for the Tajik government to allow freedom of worship for Tajik believers.
- Pray for a move of the Holy Spirit across this nation, for many to encounter the living Christ and come to faith in Him.
Ephesians 6 vs 18: “Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints.“