(Forum 18) - "We rely on God. If we're persecuted for the name of Christ we're blessed," a Pastor told Forum 18 after commenting that "our constitution guarantees us freedom of religion and belief, but in reality we don't have it." Baptists in north-west Azerbaijan face being prevented from working by the authorities, intimidation, and refusal to register their children's births with Christian names, Forum 18 News Service has found. The birth registration ban stops children going to kindergarten or to school, getting treatment in a hospital, or traveling abroad. Despite the detailed accounts of Baptists met by Forum 18, the head of the town administration has strenuously denied their statements. Forum 18 has also been told that people who visit Baptist services are threatened with the loss of their jobs, a powerful threat in a region where unemployment is high, and that the police have banned the holding of a Sunday school for children.
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