ICC: More on the troubling situation in Uzbekistan
Religious Intolerance Escalates in Uzbekistan , Commission Reports
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Religious intolerance in the predominantly Muslim Uzbekistan has escalated since an anti-government uprising in Andijan in May 2005, where hundreds are thought to have died when government security forces attacked unarmed, peaceful protesters.
After the events in Andijan, authorities have tightened control and taken measures against Christians including closing the only registered church in Nukus, Karapalkastan, because some of its activities were considered missionary work, according to the World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission (WEA RLC). Other reasons given for the church closure included religious agitation and distribution of religious literature among the young people and disobedience to the authorities order to stop using the church building because it was too old.
Other persecution of Protestant Christians after the Andijan uprising include arrests, interrogations threats, beatings, tortures, crackdown on Christian meetings and confiscation of Christian literature.
In one village, the Christians homes were even cut off from tap water to make them reconvert to Islam, the RLC reported.
In Andijan, an Uzbek pastor named Bakhtier Tuichiev, his family, and church the Full Gospel Church Resurrection has been continually persecuted by the local authorities for several years. He was a Muslim who converted to Christianity and received theological education in a Korean seminary in Novosibirsk . We are still facing persecution, only it has become much worse, said Tuichiev in a letter to WEA RLC.
They ask their Christian brothers and sisters everywhere to pray for the re-registration of the church in Nukus and for the restoration of justice in Uzbekistan , the RLC concluded.
Despite the difficulties, the Commission noted in its religious liberty bulletin that Christians in Uzbekistan continue to grow in numbers and that former criminals and drug addicts are changing their lives for Jesus and starting to live righteous lives.