Evangelical Churches Denied Registration in Turkmenistan
In March 2016, Turkmenistan passed a new law on Religious Organizations and Religious Freedom which required all religious entities to re-register with the government. Without registration, the entities would be considered illegal. Such entities could not gather to meet. Requirements to apply for registration include having at least 50 members’ signatures who are 18 years old and older, a signed statement requesting registration, and an application fee of $135. Christians in Turkmenistan have stated that evangelical churches are the only institutions being refused registration. Refusal means Christians could be fined or arrested if they are caught meeting together. Six churches have written a letter to Turkmenistan’s president requesting registration.
01/27/2018 Turkmenistan (World Watch Monitor) – Six Evangelical churches in Turkmenistan have submitted a letter to President Gurbanguly Berdimukhamedov, asking to be allowed to register as official religious communities.
Following the adoption of a new Law on Religious Organisations and Religious Freedom in March 2016, all religious entities are required to re-register in order to operate legally, but Evangelical churches were denied registration by the Ministry of Justice.
In the letter, the churches request permission to open a Christian bookstore and also say they want to have their own building for services. Some church groups now meet secretly in cafés and restaurants.
“We believers of the Evangelical Church, we citizens of Turkmenistan, have a great desire to contribute to our society and our land. We want to be involved in raising our fellow citizens spiritually. We feel sad that we are not having the freedom to express our faith and to share this with the people of Turkmenistan,” their letter says.
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