Fill 1

21

Score

70.82

Region

Central Asia

Persecution Type

Dictatorial paranoia

Religion

Islam

Persecution Level

Very High

Population

33,649,000

Christian

347,000

Government

Presidential republic

Leader

President Shavkat Mirziyoyev

Profile of Persecution

Violence 1.7/16.7
Church Life 15.6/16.7
National Life 11.8/16.7
Community Life 14.1/16.7
Family Life 12.7/16.7
Private Life 14.9/16.7

What does persecution look like in Uzbekistan?

Though all Christians experience some level of persecution in Uzbekistan, Protestants are often the victims of the greatest pressure. Christians who are a part of these non-registered churches may be viewed as “extremists,” and the government believes church members are spies trying to destroy the government. Therefore, Christians and their churches may be monitored, and unregistered churches may be the victims of police raids, arrests and fines. Additionally, Uzbekistan is largely Muslim, so any Christian who converted from Islam faces increased pressure from their family and community. Christians in these situations may be locked up, beaten or expelled from their communities. Many converts from Islam are forced to hide their faith.

Meet “Adam,” who attends a church that tried to register with the Uzbek government

“The police asked us why we became Christians and demanded we renounce our faith. This had never happened before, even when we were fined in previous years. This happened because we asked for registration.”

What has changed this year?

This year, persecution continued to be significant against Christians in Uzbekistan. A new criminal code was drafted in 2021, which continues to penalize the distribution of religious literature, meeting for worship without government permission and “talking about faith.” The previous laws about religious activity were often criticized for being vague, but this update gives way to even greater persecution. Protestant churches continue to be targeted by authorities, and Christians who converted from Islam are still persecuted by both government and community.

Who is most vulnerable to persecution?

The level of persecution by government officials in Uzbekistan is the same all over the country, particularly on Christians who don’t belong to a registered church, as well as Christians suspected of evangelizing. For Christians who converted from Islam, the pressure is strongest outside of urban areas, especially in the Fergana Valley in the east.

What does Open Doors do to help?

We can’t talk specifically about work in Uzbekistan for security reasons. Throughout Central Asia, Open Doors provides immediate aid to believers when they are placed in prison, excluded from families and communities, and deprived of livelihood and employment because of their faith in Christ. Open Doors also works in Central Asia by supporting biblical training and literature distribution.

Population statistic: Johnson T M and Zurlo G A, eds., World Christian Database (Leiden/Boston: Brill, accessed April 2021).

Pray for Uzbekistan

  • Pray for Christians who are discriminated against in work or society because of their faith. Pray for Christians who lose their jobs, or who are required to keep their faith a secret. Pray especially for Christians who convert from Islam in Uzbekistan, that they would be protected and know the peace of God.
  • Pray for the government of Uzbekistan, that they would allow more religious freedoms. Ask God to bring the knowledge of Him to the leaders of the country.
  • Pray for Open Doors’ ministry in Central Asia, that Christians across the region would feel encouraged and strengthened from the help and aid they receive.

Stories from Uzbekistan

March 3, 2022

Reach out to an isolated young believer!

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October 5, 2021

‘Better a murderer than a Christian?’—pray for 22-year-old Amiel in Central Asia

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January 18, 2021

13 Christians murdered for following Jesus—every day

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