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Turkmenistan

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Pastor Ilmurad Nurliev suffered for 18 months
in a labour camp

In August 2012 five Christians in the Lebap region of Turkmenistan were taken to court and fined for taking part in unregistered religious activity. One of them who tried to appeal was told that this was not allowed, and officials threatened to seize the family’s property if the fine was not paid.

Even though persecution has eased slightly after the death in 2006 of President Niyazov, an eccentric, megalomaniac dictator, the Turkmen authorities still do their best to suppress Christian activity. A strict Religion Law passed in 2003 requires all religious groups in Turkmenistan to register. Unregistered churches are forbidden to conduct any religious activities, including services, evangelism or literature distribution, or to provide religious education. Their meetings may be raided and their property confiscated, and they are liable to fines and imprisonment. Pastors and members have sometimes been abused or beaten by the authorities.

The procedure for registration is cumbersome, and some churches fail to obtain it despite repeated efforts. Even registered churches experience close scrutiny by the government, and they face difficulties in renting or buying property for worship and meetings. They also have to obtain permission from local authorities for every activity, and this is sometimes denied.

The publication of religious literature is forbidden. In early 2012 an elderly Christian was detained and questioned for six hours by police after he tried to print copies of a small book of his Christian poetry. He was forced to sign a statement and banned from travelling outside his home region of Dashoguz while the case was investigated. Imported literature is approved only rarely by the authorities and is allowed only for registered groups.

Turkmenistan is mainly Muslim (96%), and ethnic Turkmen Christians who have converted from Islam are treated with suspicion and ostracised to pressure them to return.

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

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  • On this Good Friday, give thanks to God for the death of Christ and for His gift of eternal life. Praise Him too for the example of those Christians who have persevered in their faith at the risk of their lives and who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of Christ and the Gospel. Pray that their martyrdom will inspire their suffering brothers and sisters in Christ to endure whatever hardships befall them and will convince their persecutors of the truth and power of the Gospel. Pray too that their bereaved families and churches will not grieve without hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Fri, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Cry out to the Lord for Christians in the Central African Republic (CAR) who have been driven from their homes by the violence that has engulfed their country. Attacks by Islamist Séléka militants and retaliation from “anti-balaka” militias has generated a huge humanitarian crisis in which around two million people, many of them Christians, are in need of emergency assistance. Give thanks for the work of Barnabas partners who have been providing food rations to hundreds of displaced believers in the capital, Bangui, and distributing food, medicines, clothing and seeds to thousands in various regions. Pray that the aid will reach those who need it most, and that the Lord will comfort the relatives and friends of the thousands who have been killed in the fighting. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Thu, Apr 2014 00:00

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  • Pray for a church leader in Sri Lanka, S.S. Johnpillai, who was threatened at gunpoint by attackers who claimed to be Special Forces officers. The minister was in a hut next to his church building in Guadalupe, Trincomolee when, he said, the men “appeared out of nowhere”. The intruders put a gun to Johnpillai’s head and accused him of holding a Communion service in honour of the founder of the Tamil Tigers, the government’s opponents in the country’s long and bloody civil war. The government had that day made it a criminal offence to commemorate the group. The gunmen ignored Johnpillai’s protests that he had not dedicated Communion to the group’s founder, and they threatened to shoot him. Ask the Lord to support and strengthen Johnpillai as he recovers from this terrifying ordeal. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Apr 2014 00:00

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