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Religious freedom a stuttering pulse in Central Asia
ICC Note:
The World Watch List of Christian persecution lists ten of the 12 countries in Central Asia (extras are sometimes included in the bunch). This means that 20% of Central Asia is considered at high risk for persecution. World Watch List said, “We know of situations in [Central Asia] where there are churches that have to meet discreetly, even going out in the woods sometimes,” says Griffith. “They circulate the word of the services by word of mouth and try not to communicate it electronically or by telephone because they’re watched carefully. That’s basically the reality of how Christians in this particular country have to operate.”
07/12/2013 Central Asia (MNN) -There are 12 nations either in Central Asia or sometimes included in listings of Central Asia. Of those 12 countries, 10 of them are on the World Watch List for worst persecution of Christians.
That means Central Asia makes up 20% of the World Watch List.
Countries on the World Watch List located completely or partially in Central Asian include Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and China.
Islam is the prominent religion in Central Asia, and restrictions on Christians make ministry difficult.
Slavic Gospel Association (SGA) is currently holding children’s summer camps to share the Gospel in Russia and the surrounding Central Asian countries with heavy Muslim presence. Last weekend, SGA President Bob Provost received a disturbing e-mail from one camp’s church leaders.
15 agents including law enforcement and alleged medical personnel swept into an SGA-sponsored children’s camp. The authorities took several photographs, arrested the camp leaders, and heavily fined them. Some of the frightened kids were even interrogated. When parents heard about the incident, they were alarmed.
Joel Griffith with SGA says, “The specific wording of the charge was ‘holding an unsanctioned religious gathering,’ and even that can be very difficult. I mean the church is trying to follow the law there, and the law says that they have to register their churches; so they do everything they can possibly do to follow the law, and then the authorities throw obstacles in their way to make it impossible for them to register their churches.”

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