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Turkmenistan

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Pastor Ilmurad Nurliev suffered for 18 months
in a labour camp

A Christian children’s camp on church premises in the town of Mary in Turkmenistan was raided in the summer of 2013. The police subjected the youngsters to questioning for three hours; then they called the parents and demanded that they collect their children immediately. Church leaders were subsequently fined for holding an unregistered church meeting.

A strict Religion Law passed in 2003 requires all religious groups in Turkmenistan to register with the authorities. Criteria for registration are intrusive and the process is cumbersome, but unregistered religious activity is prohibited by law and can be punished by imprisonment and large fines. Unregistered groups are subject to raids and other forms of harassment, and they are not allowed to rent, buy or build places of worship. Pastors and members have sometimes been abused or beaten by the authorities.

Registered churches have to accept state oversight of all their activities and may face interference with their leadership and organisation. They must have government permission for their buildings and cannot meet for worship in private homes. They also have to obtain permission from local authorities for every activity, and this is sometimes denied. No private religious education is allowed, and there are no training facilities for church leaders. Christian literature may not be published in the country, and its importing is severely restricted by censorship regulations.

Turkmenistan is mainly Muslim (95%), and ethnic Turkmen Christian converts from Islam are treated with suspicion and ostracised to pressure them to return. The previous head of state, Saparmurat Niyazov, initiated a presidential personality cult with religious overtones that dominated public life, and although this has diminished somewhat since his death in 2006, it remains pervasive under his successor.

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

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    • Almighty God, we call to You for relief for Christians in the Gwoza area of Borno state in Northern Nigeria, as they face repeated violent attacks by Boko Haram militants. We pray for comfort for the relatives and friends of the hundreds who have been killed, and for the thousands who have been forced from their homes and seen them torched. We ask for Your special protection on Christians as they gather to worship You. We pray for the Nigerian authorities to re-establish control of the area, so that the displaced Christians may be safe from further attacks and free to rebuild their shattered communities. We pray too for their persecutors to come to repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 13 hours ago

    • “This is a war against Christians and democracy and their constitution. Allah says we should finish them when we get them.” The leader of the Nigerian Islamist militant group Boko Haram was speaking in a video that reasserted their agenda and addressed “the people of the world”, saying, “Either you are with us Mujahedeen or you are with the Christians.” The translation of the video was released as scores of people were killed in suicide bombings in May, including at least 118 in a double attack in Jos, Plateau state on 20 May. Pray that Boko Haram’s murderous campaign to establish an Islamic state in Northern Nigeria will not succeed. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Sep 2014 00:00

    • Pray for Bible school students in Vietnam who were subjected to a terrifying night-time raid by police and hired thugs. On 9 June, officers swooped from adjacent rooftops into the church compound that houses the school, while vehicle-loads of people were brought to the site to vandalise the building with bricks, stones and sticks. The students were beaten, punched and kicked before being taken away for interrogation; 20 were left in need of medical attention but were prevented from leaving to find it. Thugs continued to attack the compound over the next ten nights. Pray for the students as they recover from this brutal assault and that they will stand firm in their faith in the face of intimidation. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Aug 2014 00:00

    • In an earlier incident in Saisomboon village, three teenage Christian girls were disqualified from taking their final school examinations because of their faith. The village chief said that in following Christianity, Noi (15), Net (15) and Nut (14) had forfeited their right to education. Five families from the village have now converted to Christianity. A spokesman for Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom expressed the view that the authorities were trying to find every possible way “to stop the spread of Christian religious freedom in the area”. Pray that the girls will be allowed to complete their education and that opposition to the Christians in the village will cease. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sat, Aug 2014 00:00

    • Five Christians have been charged with murder in Laos after a sick woman sought prayer at her local church, converted to Christianity and later died. Mrs Chan, from Saisomboon village in Savannakhet province, had been ill for two years when she approached the church. Her health improved for a short time, and she and her eight grown-up children came to faith in Christ. The sons and daughters wanted a Christian burial ceremony, but the authorities forbade this unless they renounced their faith, which they refused to do. When Christians in the area protested, five were arrested and subsequently charged with Mrs Chan’s murder. Pray that the God of justice will have compassion on His people (Isaiah 30:18) and ensure their acquittal from this false accusation. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Fri, Aug 2014 00:00

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