Map reflects the 30 most recent Persecution Reports. Click HERE
for the Map Legend.
Friday, May 17th, 2013
Two Baptists in Azerbaijan had been punished for exercising their right to religious freedom have had their fines overturned. They had violated Article 299.0.3 of the Code of Administrative Offences which punishes "clergy and religious associations holding special religious meetings for children and young people, as well as the holding by religious bodies of literature circles or other specialised groups.” Though the fines are overturned, they are still not allowed to meet together for worship, as the country has refused them registration.
Saturday, May 4th, 2013
Officials in Azerbaijan routinely confiscate religious books that are on a mysterious “banned list” that the public is yet to see. While they claim that the Bible and Quran are not on that list, a plethora of other religious materials are considered illegal. The list is apparently finally ready to be published. It remains to be seen if that will in fact happen. Religious books being on Azerbaijan’s “banned list” is an infringement on the religious minorities rights to freedom in that country.
Friday, May 3rd, 2013
Two Baptists, previously fined for holding an “unregistered religious meeting” in their home, are rejoicing as the fines have been overturned. Despite this victory, the government continues to refuse their application for registration and they still have no legal right to meet for worship.
Friday, April 5th, 2013
Two Baptist pastors were fined a year’s average wage in Azerbaijan for “exercising their right to freedom of religion,” Forum 18 News Service reports. The pastors had previously served prison terms for their faith while their church has been denied legal status by the government for nearly two decades.
Friday, February 15th, 2013
Despite the guarantee of freedom of religion in the constitution, Christians in Azerbaijan struggle to practice their faith. It’s nearly impossible to gain a registration making a religious organization legal, forcing many believers to practice their faith illegally. It seems their constitutional rights are not well protected. Especially when police and other officials have warned pastors, “It’s illegal to spread the teachings of Jesus in Azerbaijan.”
Tuesday, February 12th, 2013
As Azerbaijan’s authoritarian President Ilham Aliyev seeks to secure his re-election to a third consecutive term, religious and civil liberties for Christians and others are likely to suffer even further at the hands of one of the world’s most corrupt and autonomous rulers.
Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013
Greater Grace Protestant Church has run out of options to regain legal status in the Azerbaijani courts. The church was approved for registration in 2003 by the Justice Ministry, but did not gain registration with the State Committee in the controversial “re-registration” requirement of all religious organizations in Azerbaijan in 2009. This means that any members of the Church who gather to worship will be doing so illegally. Christians are not the only ones being denied legal status. Recently, the only registered Muslim community nearby was stripped of its registration. This means that for the 40,000 residents near the capital, Baku, there is now NO legal place of worship for any faith or religion.
Friday, November 9th, 2012
Bibles and other religious materials were confiscated from two Baptists homes in what appears to be a strategic raid by police, many of whom were in civilian clothes. Officers presented Christians in both homes with search warrants while telling them they had been meeting to worship illegally in their homes. The heads of both homes were men that had previously been “prisoners of conscience”, imprisoned for practicing their faith. It is unclear as to what prompted the raid or if any of the materials, including Bibles in various languages, will be returned.
Monday, October 29th, 2012
While claiming, “censorship has been abolished” in Azerbaijan, authorities confiscated 120 items of religious material, as well as a vehicle from three Baptists. The event occurred after it was discovered that the three had shared their belief in a nearby village. Finally, five months later the vehicle has been returned. However, the case is still open against the three and their religious material has not been returned.
Monday, October 29th, 2012
At the end of September a family was stopped at the border of Azerbaijan when they were on their return from Russia. The family was held for more than six hours as secret police searched the car, questioned them and had them fill out paperwork. The family had their religious material and vehicle confiscated. This is the most recent incidence, but it caught the attention of the OSCE who has criticized Azerbaijan for their Religion Laws, which do not meet human rights standards.
Wednesday, September 19th, 2012
This article is quite interesting to read. At first glance it seems that the Azerbaijani in this forum discussion would support Freedom of Religion. Look a little closer however, and you will see the underlying tone that implies Christians, and other religions should be “restrained.” He even went so far as to say, “It is something very difficult to accept when people insult my prophet or my religious values…When such things happen, he said, ‘there will be a backlash … and that’s why people attack ambassadors.’” He also implies that Muslims don’t cause problems to Christians, saying: “Have you ever heard of the Bible being burned in any Muslim countries?” Read to find out a Christian missionaries response to that one!
Wednesday, August 15th, 2012
Christians in Azerbaijan continue to fight the closure of their church.
Friday, August 10th, 2012
A church that was legally registered by the state since 1993 was forced to re-register in 2009. They were denied their re-registration (getting a legal registration is nearly impossible) and told they would have to liquidate and cease all religious activities. They’ve been fighting it in court, but lost. The church plans to take this to Azerbaijan’s Supreme Court.
Saturday, July 21st, 2012
Azerbaijan claims religious freedom, but forces people of religion to jump through ridiculous hoops in order to gather for worship, even if they are gathering in their own homes. In this case, a church was “liquidated” when they failed to “apply for compulsory re-registration following the changes to the Religion Law in 2009.” This article discusses the case the church is making to appeal the liquidation, saying, “State Committee's liquidation demand is based on the personal prejudicial attitude of its legal specialist, Sabina Allahverdieva."
Thursday, July 12th, 2012
In two separate incidents Baptists in Azerbaijan were detained for sharing their faith and Christian literature. All six Baptists have been threatened with criminal charges. No action has been taken against them as of yet. In the mean time they are “continuing to pray and write appeals." In both situations their rights to religious freedom were infringed upon.
Friday, June 29th, 2012
In Azerbaijan you have to have permission from the government to distribute religious materials. They have “special stores” where those types of things can be purchased, and you have to jump through several hoops to even get materials approved. In this case, three Baptists were detained for sharing their faith and handing out religious material. They were interrogated at the police station and their passports, religious material and car were confiscated. Though they are now home, they are awaiting the final decision as to their fate. This is a blatant violation of their religious freedoms. Situations like this should not be happening.
Monday, June 25th, 2012
Churches in Azerbaijan are required to register with the government in order to meet, and only two have had their registrations approved. In what appears to be a technicality, a Christian congregation is now awaiting their appeal to a court order “order that banned its right to meet and “liquidated” the church.” If the court does not rule in their favor, though they have been meeting for nearly 20 years, they will have no right to assemble and any continued meet-ups will be deemed illegal.
Saturday, May 19th, 2012
Azerbaijan’s vague religious laws leave too much room for persecution. While the police deny doing raids at all, many have happened in recent months. Children and their parents are held for questioning while police demand that notarized, signed parental consent is necessary for the children to be at church. This article documents a few of the most recent cases.
Friday, April 27th, 2012
“A court in the Azerbaijani capital Baku has ruled to liquidate the Greater Grace Protestant Church,” Forum 18 News Service reports.
Thursday, April 26th, 2012
“An official of the State Committee for Work with Religious Organisations – which operates Azerbaijan's harsh religious censorship system – admitted in mid-April that about 100 shops wishing to sell religious books are still waiting for the necessary licences,” Forum 18 News Service reports.
Monday, April 16th, 2012
“A court in Azerbaijan's capital Baku is likely to decide on 19 April whether Greater Grace Protestant Church should be liquidated, a court official told Forum 18 News Service after the latest hearing on 12 April.”
Monday, April 2nd, 2012
“Judge Tahira Asadova at Baku's Administrative Economic Court No. 1 will hand down her decision on 12 April whether Greater Grace Protestant Church in the Azerbaijani capital is to be liquidated,” Forum 18 News Service reports.
Friday, March 16th, 2012
“Muslim and Christian meetings in Azerbaijan continue to face raids involving the ordinary police, NSM secret police, and officials of the State Committee for Work with Religious Organisations,” Forum 18 News Service reports.
Wednesday, March 14th, 2012
“Azerbaijan's State Committee for Work with Religious Organisations has moved to close down Greater Grace Church in the capital Baku for failing to regain the compulsory re-registration,” Forum 18 News Service reports.
Saturday, February 18th, 2012
Raymond Ibrahim reports in the algemeiner that “The beginning of the New Year saw only an increase in the oppression of Christians under Islam, from Nigeria, where an all-out jihad has been declared in an effort to eradicate the Muslim north of all Christians, to Europe, where Muslim converts to Christianity are still hounded and attacked as apostates.” Ibrahim’s series, titled ‘Muslim Persecution of Christians,’ is published each month to document cases of persecution – whether it be general discrimination, arrests, or murder – committed by Muslims in majority Islamic countries, Asia and the West.
Thursday, December 29th, 2011
“Following a police raid on Baptists meeting for worship in Neftechala in Azerbaijan, Pastor Telman Aliev, his wife (who was not present during the raid), and all the Church members have been summoned for police questioning on 23 December, after threats of criminal prosecution have been made against the pastor,” Forum 18 News Service reports.
Friday, December 16th, 2011
“Following Azerbaijan's passage of its latest set of legal changes restricting and punishing the exercise of freedom of religion or belief, groups of people who produce or distribute religious literature or objects without going through the compulsory prior state censorship now face prison terms of two to five years,” Forum 18 News Service reports.
Wednesday, December 14th, 2011
“Christians in Iran and Azerbaijan are coming under increased pressure from their governments,” World Net Daily reports.
Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011
“Prison terms of up to five years or maximum fines of nearly nine years' official minimum wage are set to be adopted by Parliament in mid-November for groups of people who produce or distribute religious literature without going through Azerbaijan's compulsory prior state censorship of all religious literature,” Forum 18 News Service reports.