Increasing numbers of Christians in Uzbekistan are being punished simply for the “crime” of having religious literature at home, and Open Doors is asking Christians worldwide to pray for Christians living under the harsh Central Asian dictatorship.
One Christian, Stanislav Kim, was sentenced to two years’ corrective labour in Urgench for having religious books at home. He is now under house arrest, living at home with restrictions placed on his movements and a fifth of his wages seized by the State.
This is the second time Kim, a Baptist from the north-western Khorezm region, has been found guilty of this offence, according to Open Doors.
In Surkhandarya, a region in the southeast of the country, four Baptists were also punished when religious literature was discovered and confiscated during an illegal house search. Officials ordered the destruction of two Bibles, as well as other books and CDs.
The authorities claimed that one book was banned because it could be used to spread a faith. They also stated that Baptists are banned in the region because they do not have state registration.
“Please pray for the Christians in Uzbekistan,” a source told Open Doors. “It’s getting more and more difficult to spread the gospel with literature.”
Uzbekistan, where the main religion is Islam and just over 300,000 of the 30 million population are Christian.
The Russian Orthodox Church is tolerated but other denominations are viewed as sects that aim to destroy the political system. House churches are regularly raided and Christians can be fined for anything from owning a Bible to having a Christian song on their phone.
Those who convert from Islam endure the greatest persecution, Open Doors reports.
- Pray for Uzbek Christians as they face growing pressure against them and also the uncertainty of their future with a new President.
- Pray for those who are facing heavy fines or imprisonment through owning Christina literature. Pray for the charges to be dropped and for them to know the comforting presence of the Holy Spirit around them.
- Pray for Uzbekistan as it faces political change with a new president. Pray that, with this, there will be an easing of restrictions on owning Bibles and other Christian material, as well as for opportunities for Christians to meet together and worship without fear.
Psalm 32 vs 6: “Therefore let all who are faithful offer prayer to you; at a time of distress, the rush of mighty waters shall not reach them.”
Source: http://www.christiantoday.com/article, http://www.persecution.org