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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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    • About 1,500 Christians staged a protest in Lahore, Pakistan in June 2014 over the grabbing of church-owned property by the government of Punjab. Over ten large properties, including a church, schools, hospitals and graveyards, have been taken. Christian leaders met with the Lahore District Coordination Officer on 15 June to demand the return of the latest school to be seized, but when they failed to get a positive response, Christian protestors took to the streets. Pray that the provincial government will respect the property rights of the churches. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 7 hours ago

    • Praise God that Pakistan’s Supreme Court has instructed the government to take specific steps to protect religious minorities from violence and intolerance. The ruling was issued partly in response to the deadly attack on All Saints Church in Peshawar in September 2013, which claimed over 100 lives. The court ordered the formation of a National Council for Minority Rights, a special police force to protect places of worship, and a taskforce to develop strategies to counter intolerance, along with further corrective measures. Campaigners for the rights of Christians in Pakistan welcomed the moves but expressed reservations about whether they would be implemented. Pray that the measures will achieve a tangible improvement in the condition of the country’s Christians. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Aug 2014 00:00

    • Loving Father, we cry out to You for the loved ones of ten Egyptian Christians who were murdered in Libya in February and March this year. We ask that You will bring your healing and peace to their families and friends and comfort their congregations in their loss. We pray for protection for Egyptian and other expatriate Christians in Libya and ask that their neighbours will not yield to requests by the militants to hand them over and get a reward in return. We pray that further Islamist attacks against Christians will be prevented and that the Libyan authorities will establish a greater measure of control over the country. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Aug 2014 00:00

    • Pray for Egyptian Christians who are leaving Libya in the face of growing violence against them. Many have gone there seeking work, but following the recent spate of killings, they are now fleeing. An Egyptian church leader has said that attacks and threats against Christians in the region are an attempt at “genocide”. Pray that what seems to be a targeted Islamist campaign to wipe Christians out of Libya will not succeed. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Aug 2014 00:00

    • A young Christian woman in Somalia was killed by a group of armed men who broke into her house in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, earlier this year. The assailants dragged her outside and shot at neighbours who tried to rescue her. Her parents were present when the attack took place. The Islamist group al-Shabaab has killed dozens of Christians since 2008, when it seized control of large parts of the country, and although it has now been driven from its strongholds, its deadly hostility to Christians is unrelenting. Pray for other Christian converts in Somalia as they face terror on every side (Psalm 31:13). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Aug 2014 00:00

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