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Kyrgyzstan

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These Christians belong to a church planted by evangelists who received support from Barnabas

In 2013 Kyrgyzstan tightened up its already repressive Religion Law. New rules on the production, distribution and importing of religious literature have imposed a higher level of censorship on Christian materials. Groups that are seen as “non-traditional” and therefore suspect, such as Protestant Christians, are most likely to face problems, and if their literature is branded as “extremist”, they may find themselves banned altogether.

The Religion Law of 2009 requires every congregation to apply for registration. This is a cumbersome and difficult process and requires the church to have 200 founding members. Unregistered religious activity is banned, as well as worship in homes and in public locations. Registered groups are subject to intrusive monitoring by the authorities, who may attend services, take photographs and ask questions. Religious literature must be examined by state “experts” for possible extremism, and its distribution in public places is prohibited. The law also restricts evangelism and forbids the involvement of children in religious groups.

Kyrgyzstan is 83% Muslim, and the Christian minority of around 15% is subject to discrimination; Muslims sometimes influence village elders to make life difficult for them. In particular, Christians living in villages are often refused permission to bury deceased believers in their home village. Among the ethnic Kyrgyz, leaving Islam is seen not only as apostasy but also as a betrayal of one’s Kyrgyz identity and family; converts often face severe pressure and threats from their relatives and communities. Many Christians have emigrated, reducing congregational numbers and depriving churches of leadership.

The majority of the population of Kyrgyzstan is Muslim, but often only nominally. For centuries Kyrgyzstan was ruled by foreigners who imposed their religion on the people, and Christianity is sometimes seen as the religion of non-indigenous Russians, Ukrainians and Germans. Yet over recent years the number of known Kyrgyz believers has been growing steadily.

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christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

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    • Kidnapping for ransom has been a persistent problem for the Christian community in Egypt amid the political upheaval and instability following the “Arab Spring” revolution of 2011. On 14 June, Wadie Ramses, a well-known surgeon, was seized in El-Arish. The assailants opened fire on his vehicle and took him away wounded. They later demanded a ransom of ten million Egyptian Pounds (£800,000; US$1.4 million) for his release. Two days later, Christian merchant Gemal Shenouda was captured near his home in the same city. It is thought that Islamic militants with links to al-Qaeda, who have been behind escalating violence in the Sinai region, are responsible for the kidnappings. Pray for the safe return of our two Christian brothers and that they and their families will know the Lord’s peace. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 3 hours ago

    • On 18 June, Bishoy Armia Boulous (31) was sentenced to five years in prison and given a fi ne of 500 Egyptian Pounds (US£70; £40) for “disturbing the peace by broadcasting false information” in connection with reports he produced relating to anti-Christian violence in Minya for a Christian TV channel. His lawyer believes that Bishoy has been targeted because of his conversion from Islam. The Christian gained notoriety in Egypt in 2007 as the first person to try to change his religion on his ID card, a case that is still unresolved owing to the political tumult in the country over the last three years. Pray that the Lord will be Bishoy’s strength and shield (Psalm 28:7), and that he will soon be released. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Sep 2014 00:00

    • “Saudi Arabia remains unique in the extent to which it restricts the public expression of any religion other than Islam.” In its annual report for 2014, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom highlighted the extraordinary restrictions faced by Christians and other non-Muslims in one of the most rigid and hardline Islamic states in the world. No churches exist in Saudi Arabia because of an Islamic tradition that Muhammad said there should be only one religion in the Arabian peninsula. Pray for peace and perseverance for the small number of Saudi converts and the many expatriate Christians practising their faith in this repressive context, and ask that the authorities will yield to international pressure to introduce greater religious freedom. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sat, Sep 2014 00:00

    • On 23 June, Vahid Hakkani, a Christian convert in prison in Iran, resumed a hunger strike in protest against the refusal of a court to grant him and two other Christians conditional release. Vahid had broken his previous strike in May after another of his fellow-detainees was set free. The prison authorities have reportedly confiscated his personal belongings from his cell and are denying him the right to make phone calls; they have also separated the Christian prisoners from one another. Even before his first hunger strike, Vahid had been suffering from a digestive problem and internal bleeding. Pray that his health may not fail altogether and that his action will secure justice and freedom for him and his friends (Psalm 69:33). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Fri, Sep 2014 00:00

    • Pray for imprisoned pastor Saeed Abedini, who has been severely beaten and forcibly returned to jail from hospital in Iran. He had been recovering there for two months from injuries received in past beatings, and his transfer back to the deadly Rajai Shahr prison came without warning. When he arrived at the hospital in March, he was shackled, and guards lashed out at him violently. But his treatment later improved; his family were allowed to visit him, and he was given nutritious meals. Ask the Lord to strengthen and protect Saeed in this latest stage of his long and painful ordeal, and pray that he will soon be released. Pray too for comfort for his family in the US; his wife has said that this latest development breaks her heart. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Thu, Sep 2014 00:00

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