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UzbekistanMap reflects the 30 most recent Persecution Reports. Click HERE for the Map Legend.
A Christian couple in Uzbekistan had their house raided while they were out and the children were home with a babysitter. Their Christian literature was confiscated. Four days after the raid the couple and their babysitter, who they claim is not even a believer, were summoned to court. The Judge handed them “unbelievably high fines” 100 times the minimum salary, without a hearing.
Reports from Uzbekistan indicate that authorities are widening their crackdown on Christian converts from Islam. Details are just beginning to emerge regarding the most recent incident of police harassing a family of believers, while searching for a church leader.
Two years after an Uzbek Baptist Christian was sentenced to 10 years in prison for drug trafficking, which his church says is a false charge, Uzbekistan shows no signs of relenting on its ongoing persecution of Christians.
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.
Christians in Uzbekistan continue to face raids, confiscation of their personal religious materials, outrageous fines, and possible imprisonment.
A Christian man in Uzbekistan sought to “overturn a large fine” given to him for allegedly distributing religious literature illegally. The man had 1,300 books, 2,100 brochures, 450 leaflets, 50 magazines, 200 videos, and 350 audio cassettes confiscated from his home and “expertly analyzed” in one day. To be expertly analyzed, all of these items must be thoroughly read, listened to, and scrutinized; an impossible feat in that amount of time. Also, witnesses in his court case were fictitious.
At the beginning of December police raided a group of Christians who were meeting together for worship while on vacation. They confiscated their Christian songbooks and Bibles, and took everyone’s fingerprints. In addition to the fines they were charged with, the judge ordered their Bibles to be destroyed on Christmas Eve, the day when Protestants in Uzbekistan begin their Christmas celebrations.
After an illegal search of her home, police confiscated three Christian books and two DVD’s containing a Christian film and a sermon. Now, Sharofat Allamova, a Christian in Uzbekistan, faces up to three years in prison for the "illegal production, storage, import or distribution of religious literature".
In a continuation of the discussion of religious freedom in Uzbekistan, this article points out numerous instances including Christians songbooks confiscated, punishing people for reading their Bibles and more.
Uzbekistan continues to defy its human rights violations by making it illegal for anyone to share their faith. The religion law states, "Actions aimed at attracting believers of one confession to another (proselytism) are forbidden, as is other missionary activity." This makes it difficult for Christians to practice their faith with freedom.
In Uzbekistan it is illegal for Christians to gather and worship anywhere other than places registered and approved by the government. Recently, a gathering of 80 believers, who were on holiday together, was raided by police in plainclothes. The believers were exercising their right to freedom of religion, but were not in a building registered for religious purposes. They were threatened, verbally abused and fingerprinted by the police. Their Bibles and song books were confiscated and the leaders of the group are being charged on numerous counts, one of which is “carrying out unauthorized religious activities”.
Following a terrifying ordeal, Pastor Makset Djabbarbergenov has not only been released from prison, he has also been reunited with his family and flown to Europe where he and his family will remain safely in an unnamed location.
After being held for three months in prison in Kazakhstan Pastor Makset Djabbarbergenov has been granted asylum in Europe. This is an answer to prayers of Christians around the world who have praying for his release. Djabbarbergenov is a native of Uzbekistan, but fled with his family to Kazakhstan, where he was later arrested and threatened with extradition.
12/7/2012 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) - Authorities in Uzbekistan are increasingly raiding homes of Christians, confiscating Christian literature, and imposing heavy fines on believers for meeting to worship or study the Bible.
Uzbekistan has very strict rules and regulations regarding religious literature, and recently religious literature from two Christians was confiscated. All such materials must be “analyzed” by authorities. If they are found to be “dangerous” they are ordered to be destroyed. In this case legal procedures are believed to be violated. The expert who “analyzed” the material (1,300 books, 2,100 brochures, 450 leaflets, 50 magazines, 200 videos, and 350 audio cassettes) somehow managed to watch, read and listen to all of them in one day. They were, of course all deemed dangerous and are to be destroyed. A local Protestant said that to analyze all this material in one day “beats the Guinness Book of Records",
Though there is no word yet whether or not Pastor Makset Djabbarbergenov will be extradited from Kazakhstan to Uzbekistan to face possibly fifteen years in prison, his charges are becoming clearer. On Djabbarbergenov is charged with inviting eleven people to his home on August 9, 2007 and "without specialized religious education and without permission from a central administration of a religious organization taught them the teaching of the banned religious organization.” In short, Djabbarbergenov taught a Bible study at his home without permission from the government and is now seen as a sort of “terrorist”. Sounds like a violation of freedom of religion to us.
This article sheds light on the state of the persecuted church in the 10/40 window. This region of the world sees the highest amount of persecution and is also where most of ICC’s projects are based. Christians often see “their lives threatened, homes destroyed, rights violated and loved ones imprisoned, all because of embracing faith in Jesus Christ".
Charged in Uzbekistan with teaching the beliefs of the “banned religious organization Isa-Masih [Jesus Messiah]”, Protestant pastor Makset Djabbarbergenov has been in prison in Kazakhstan, where his refugee request has so far been denied. A few years ago he and his family escaped to Kazakhstan, fearing their lives were in danger in Uzbekistan. Though the UN Committee Against Torture states that he should gain refugee status due to the danger of sending him back to Uzbekistan, authorities in Kazakhstan are still threatening to extradite him. If he is in fact extradited, he could face up to fifteen years in prison. His wife, who hasn't seen him since his arrest in August says, “We want him freed.”
Christian threatened with extradition to one of world’s worst violators of religious rights.
The Government of Uzbekistan makes it very difficult to practice Christianity or even own a Bible in the Uzbek language. This article discusses some of those problems and notes that, “laws that are being enforced have placed a lot of regulations for Christians. If a person has more than one Bible in his household, he is considered a missionary and can face up to five years in jail.”
This article by MNN summarizes recent incidents that have plagued the beleaguered Protestant church of Uzbekistan, which faces fines and constant harassment by authorities for operating “illegally.” Only Orthodox Christianity is sanctioned by the Uzbek government.
Uzbekistan is cracking down on religious groups it considers illegal, which unfortunately includes Protestant Christians. In the most recent incident police raided the home of a 74-year-old Protestant woman and confiscated all of her Christian literature. Despite being disables, she could face prosecution and steep fines for owning the literature, which included Bibles and Christian DVD’s.
A Baptist family in Uzbekistan had more than just their “illegal” religious material confiscated when police invaded their house. A Senior Bailiff is quoted as saying, "Leave only one spoon, one mug and one mattress for each." Uzbekistan publically says that they support freedom of religion, but in action they consistently deny church registration, forcing church goers to either stop going to church or go to church “illegally” and face fines, raids and jail time.
Uzbekistan has very strict controls on all religious material allowed in their country. There are frequent raids on believers homes where their Bibles and other religious materials are confiscated “so that the authorities can make sure they are officially allowed religious books.” Often times these confiscated items, even approved ones, are destroyed and never returned to the owners. This article discusses just such a case in which the Father of a victim of a raid said, "This means that [the government] is destroying Bibles which represent the sacred primary source of one of the world's major religions,"
Two defenseless Christian women in Uzbekistan had their home raided and their religious paraphernalia confiscated from them. They were beaten in their homes and then “dragged into a minivan” by police who took them to the police station. Things went from bad to worse when the police tried to force them to sign documents that they were choosing to accept Islam. When they refused, the police threatened and beat them. The women were forced to sign documents stating that "125 religious books were found in their home, the names of which were dictated” to them by the police. The women were later released but were each fined 20 times the minimum monthly wage. Their court case lasted all of five minutes. It is clear that these women were abused by their government, denied due process and refused the basic human right of freedom of religion.
A mother and daughter in Azerbaijan were beaten in their home when six men stormed in and searched for Christian literature. The women called the police for help, but instead of helping them the police arrested them. Once at the station police tried to forcibly convert them, beat them when they refused to convert and forced them to sign false papers. Where is the justice, due process and police protection?
This article contains thoughts on recent situations in Uzbekistan that resulted in the violation of religious freedoms.
This article gives further thoughts on Uzbekistan and their confiscation of Christian materials, as well as noting International Religious Freedom Report findings. “ Authorities in Uzbekistan are searching private homes for what they consider incendiary material -- Bibles.”
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ICC is constantly monitoring the state of Christian persecution in countries around the world and looking for ways that we can act as bridge between our supporters and the persecuted church. Beyond the projects you see above, we are working in many other areas to provide practical assistance to our brothers and sisters in Christ. View our other projects page to understand more of our work and keep up to date on our current projects.