Giving hope to persecuted Christians since 1995
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ICC Note: Could there yet be hope for Christians this very strange country?


Bizzare-istan

Death of self-styled autocrat gives hope to isolated Christians.

Susan Wunderink

3/27/07 Turkmenistan (for the full story go to Christianity Today) Turkmenistan under (recently deceased President) Niyazov’s bizarre regime had become increasingly isolated from the outside world—even its volatile neighbors Iran , Afghanistan , and Uzbekistan .

“Controls are not as tight as they were from 1997 to 2004, when all non-Muslim and non-Orthodox activity was banned and communities were regularly raided and harassed,” said Felix Corley of Forum 18. “But controls and surveillance remain. Christians and other religious minorities have also been prevented from leaving Turkmenistan as the government still operates an exit blacklist.”

In 2006, after police arrested a couple, their pastor approached the authorities to try to exchange his freedom for theirs. He was beaten and told to walk naked about one-quarter of a mile, proclaiming, “Turkmenbashi is my father.” None of them was released.

Despite such persecution, the Protestant church has grown exponentially since the fall of the Soviet Union . Virtually nonexistent in 1991, the church has grown to about 5,000 Christians.

“They’ve had such a rough go for so many years, that it’s like a dream for them to see any hope in the situation.”