Map reflects the 30 most recent Persecution Reports. Click HERE
for the Map Legend.
Thursday, June 13th, 2013
In the last 6 months in Kazakhstan over 100 administrative punishments (harsh fines) have been doled out for “meeting for worship without state permission or for sharing faith with others.” Also, Grace Protestant Church’s pastor—Bakhytzhan Kashkumbayev remains in pre-trial detention facing charges of “inciting religious hatred” and harming the health of his parishioners by serving them tea during communion.
Tuesday, June 11th, 2013
Christians in Kazakhstan who have been fined for their religious activity, an act which violates their right to religious freedom, can now also be restricted from traveling outside the country. This “travel ban” is in place as a way to force them to pay their fines, but Baptists—they are particularly targeted—take this as a double punishment of sorts. Baptists in Kazakhstan regularly refuse to register their churches and religious activities with the government as an act of civil disobedience
Sunday, June 9th, 2013
Things have been steadily heating up in Central Asia. It seems that Islamic extremism is increasing and that religious minorities, including Christians, will be the ones to suffer. Recent cases in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are focused on in this article.
Friday, June 7th, 2013
The collapse of the Soviet Union caused a growth in Islam and Extremism in Central Asia and the Caucasus. Predictions are now being made that the US withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014 will “have a destabilizing effect on the whole region.” The prediction is that Islamic extremism will increase in the next few years and that Central Asia will need to be closely monitored.
Tuesday, June 4th, 2013
A pastor in Kazakhstan was arrested earlier this year, and while that is not entirely uncommon for the region, this arrest comes with a “twist”: the pastor is a Christian who converted from Islam. Some think the pastor was targeted for that reason as this Muslim majority nation believes that “if you are Muslim, you should stay Muslim. If you are Christian, you should stay Christian."
Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013
When Aleksei gathered with his friends for worship he didn’t feel that he was doing anything punishable by law. However, the authorities beg to differ, as they fined him a steep fine as punishment. Aleksei refused to pay it, again stating that he did nothing wrong. Once he refused to pay the fine, he was jailed for three days for “failure to carry out court decisions.”
Tuesday, May 21st, 2013
The accusations keep changing! First Pastor Kashkumbayev was told he was arrested for putting “hallucinogens” in the communion “wine” (it’s actually tea). Now the accusation is that he was “praying in tongues and singing” which caused a lady to “lose her mind.” The courts recently upheld an order that this pastor must remain in prison for two months pre-trial. “Prosecutors have long been seeking to punish the leaders of Grace Church, but the reason or reasons for this remain unclear.” Now, it seems, a pastor must languish in prison with unclear charges.
Sunday, May 19th, 2013
With a new “anti-extremism” program pending in Kazakhstan, many are concerned that persecution of Christians, and other religious minorities, will increase. For example, “If adopted in its current form, all places of worship would require security systems and require the teaching of what the government calls ‘traditional religions.’”
Wednesday, May 15th, 2013
A new form of persecution seems to be emerging in Kazakhstan through staged attempts to frame and discredit Christians. In at least one such case, a pastor was forced to take his case public and speak out against the perpetrators.
Tuesday, May 7th, 2013
A new State Programme to Counter Religious Extremism and Terrorism is being proposed in Kazakhstan. If adopted “as is” it will violate freedom of religion of many religious minorities, including Christians. The Plan has 74 measures, three of which are: "Uncover and halt the activity of illegally functioning places of worship"; "Uncover and halt the distribution of religious literature and informational materials of religious content in non-approved locations"; "Uncover and halt the carrying out on the territory of the country of illegal missionary activity."
Saturday, April 27th, 2013
Censorship of printed and imported religious literature, controls on when and whether it can be disseminated and the banning of publicly discussing your faith all lead to the conclusion that religious freedom and religious free speech in Kazakhstan “doesn’t exist.”
Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013
The Country of Kazakhstan seems to have a problem when it comes to their actions supporting their words. Not long after the President said that “religious freedom is fully secured,” seven Christians, more than half of them elderly, were given hefty fines for worshiping together in their homes. One of the victims has asked for “People to reach out to President Nazarbayev ‘so that he would hear us and resolve the problem with the authorities, i.e. the police and the courts’.”
Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013
A little good news for Believers has come out of the courts of Kazakhstan. Christian literature confiscated from an Evangelist has been returned. Usually, this type of literature is not returned and tends to be burned. This is great news. The evangelist is quoted as saying, "Thank God they didn’t destroy my books."
Friday, April 19th, 2013
It seems that a “law-enforcement agency” attempted to frame a pastor and members of his congregation when they went to a Sauna. Apparently, the “law-enforcement” officer told the Sauna staff to let two girls in after the Believers arrived, saying, "most important thing was to let the girls in and that they should be able to take off all their clothes. And after that, two police officers will arrive." The Pastor told reporters that he was “he was going public on this case to try to prevent such methods being used in future.”
Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
Officials in Kazakhstan raided a Church on Easter Sunday saying that the visiting pastor needed permission to preach declaring that he was conducting “illegal missionary activity.” The Pastor explained to the officials that he was “leading a service in a registered local religious community and was not 'spreading my faith', the Religion Law's definition of 'missionary activity.’ The faith has already been spread in the church. My actions did not constitute a criminal or administrative offence."
Sunday, April 14th, 2013
Subtle, and not so subtle, persecution continues for Christians in Kazakhstan. We are keeping our eye on the new proposed laws that could result in jail-time for religious minorities practicing their faith in Kazakhstan.
Thursday, April 11th, 2013
Believers in Kazakhstan are seen as worshiping and praying illegally if they do not have the governments permission to gather. However, the government makes it nearly impossible to gain registration, which makes it legal to gather in fellowship, worship and prayer. In a recent raid on an “illegal” gathering, two grandmothers reportedly in their late seventies were fined, along with five other Baptists, for participating in the “unregistered religious meeting in a private home.” The seven believers were each fined exorbitant amounts for their “crime.”
Wednesday, March 20th, 2013
New articles and a new proposed Criminal Code in Kazakhstan would result in jail time and even higher fees for individuals exercising their rights to freedom of religion. The law would make organizing religious activities or sharing your faith in a way not pre-approved by the government, a criminal offense. These changes and additions, if approved in May, will “be in violation of Kazakhstan’s international human rights commitments.”
Friday, March 15th, 2013
As religious censorship continues to increase in Kazakhstan, here is what appears to be a first for the country: confiscated religious material is to be burned. The materials are said to consist of Bibles, Children’s Bibles and pamphlets on the Christian faith. This is a disturbing court order and is in clear violation of religious freedom. One human rights defender is quoted as saying, "This is terrible, terrible." We agree.
Wednesday, March 13th, 2013
With disturbing reports of persecution against Christians trickling out of a region that appears to exist in the shadows, religious freedom in Central Asia remains a matter of grave concern for the rest of the world.
Monday, March 4th, 2013
A small seminary attached to a Baptist congregation in Almaty, Kazakhstan was "upset" at being subjected to court-ordered liquidation on February 23, Forum 18 News Service reports. According to a seminary representative, the Baptist church had tried, but was unable to register the seminary under Kazakhstan’s 2011 Religion Law. The seminary hopes to continue its activity with registration under the umbrella of a registered regional religious organization.
Thursday, February 21st, 2013
With Protestants in Kazakhstan a minority, making up only 2% of the population, the election of a new mufti is important. Yerzhan Malgajyuly Mayamerov “was elected as Grand Mufti and chairman of the Spiritual Administration of the Muslims of Kazakhstan.” As the highest religious official in Kazakhstan he will be responsible for “issuing religious edicts (fatawas).” It remains to be seen if his edicts will protect or hurt the Christian minority in the country.
Sunday, February 10th, 2013
Just over a year after Kazakhstan tightened its laws regulating religion in a purported effort to stamp out “Islamic extremism,” reports reveal that Christians and other innocent faith minorities have increasingly been victimized by the needless reform.
Wednesday, February 6th, 2013
In January there were at least eight worship meetings raided by the police. At least three Baptist pastors were punished with fines, some the equivalent of a two months wage. The authorities maintain that raids and fines are necessary on religious groups to “counter manifestations of religious extremism and terrorism”.
Wednesday, January 30th, 2013
Pastor Makset, a Pastor who was recently released from prison in Kazakhstan, shares his harrowing story of imprisonment, release and escape to Europe where he was granted asylum. When he was first arrested, and threatened with extradition to Uzbekistan he told his wife, “This is very serious. Call everyone you can. Tell them what is happening to me.” His wife did, and it is in part because of pressure from the international community that they are free and safe.
Tuesday, January 29th, 2013
Orthodox Christians in Kazakhstan, who celebrate Christmas in early January, had their Christmas services interrupted by city officials. Two bureaucrats, from the office of the Mayor, made the church goers line up along the carpet as they swept in and delivered a message from an elevated pulpit reserved for Priests. To add insult to injury, an article was later published along with a cartoon insulting to Orthodox Christians. Christians and priests have raised an outcry in response.
Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013
The new “Restrictive Religion Law” adopted in October 2011 has allowed officials in Kazakhstan to further violate individuals rights to “freedom of religion or belief”. Currently, seven people of faith ranging from Protestant to Jehovah’s Witness have been punished for “illegal missionary activity”. This could account for anything from running a church service while the Pastor is out of town to sharing your faith on the street.
Monday, December 17th, 2012
The conversation about the effect of the Religion Law and new amendments to it continue in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Christians in both countries have faced closure of their churches, denied re-registrations (making it illegal for them to meet) and the increased censorship of Christian publications, including the Bible.
Wednesday, December 12th, 2012
Churches and Mosques in Kazakhstan are complaining of being forced to shut down, or being tricked into shutting down. The religious communities claim that the reasons they are being forced to close are “arbitrary and flawed” and done in the absence of legitimate legal procedures. This is all a result of the “Religion Law” coming into effect, following a year of required registration and re-registration for religious communities.