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ICC NOTE: In Kyrgyzstan , anti-Christian violence is on the rise, with parliament considering a law to limit missionary activity.

Anti-Christian violence becomes persecution

2 October, 2006

For the full article go to: Asia News

Crowds of extremist Muslims attack and threaten Protestant pastors and demand that they shut down their churches. The authorities fail to intervene and instead ask Christians to be “less active”. Parliament is examining a bill of law to limit missionary activities.

On 28 July in the southern village of Karakulja , Osh region, more than 80 Muslims attacked the home of Protestant pastor, Zulumbek Sarygulov, beat him. They burned his books and vandalized the façade of his home, writing “house for sale”. Three policemen witnessed what happened without lifting a finger to intervene. Sarygulov told Forum 18: “People from the mosque have already come back to my house and told me they will kill me if I do not leave the village. I fear for my life and that of my relatives.”

The imam at the local mosque, Muratbek Zhumabayev, confirmed: “The believers are very unhappy that Sarygulov has opened a church in our village. Our village is purely Kyrgyz and we do not need any of these Christian churches. Many young Muslims are very aggressive and if Sarygulov does not leave the village, something irretrievable could happen.”

The head of police in Karakulja, Abdysh Turdykulov, denied that Sarygulov had been beaten, despite the fact that he has a medical report from the city hospital in Osh , where he was treated. Even Shamsybek Zakirov, an adviser to the government’s Religious Affairs Committee, said that “the medical report is not evidence” because “anything could have happened to Sarygulov on his way to Osh .” He confirmed, however, that the Christian should leave the village and close the church “so as not to provoke the situation”, adding: “Incidentally, Sarygulov is not a local man and was specifically sent to the village as a missionary.”

In December 2005 Saktinbai Usmanov was killed in the village of Zhety-Oguz on the southern bank of Isyk-kul lake. The Kyrgyz man had converted to Christianity. According to Islamic law, a Muslim who converts to Christianity is an apostate punishable by death.

In these circumstances, MP Kamchybek Tashiev has proposed an amendment to the law on religion that is apparently aimed at limiting missionary activities.