|Persecution Type:||Dictatorial Paranoia|
|Persecution Level:||Very High|
|Leader:||President Nursultan Abishuly Nazarbayev|
In Kazakhstan, there are two main drivers of Christian persecution: One is the state and the other the Muslim culture. The government is constantly working to maintain and increase its control over society, using surveillance, raids and detentions. Christians are under nearly constant surveillance, and the threat of militant Islam is used as an excuse to restrict freedoms, resulting in worsening conditions for the Christian minority.
Religious freedom is already restricted by legislation—dating from September 2011—and the Kazakhstan government is constantly working at increasing its control over the entire society, which means more surveillance, raids on meetings and arrests. The government uses the threat of militant Islam to restrict areas of freedom.
Russian Orthodox churches experience the least problems from the government since they do not usually make contact with the Kazakh population. Indigenous Christians with a Muslim background bear the brunt of persecution both at the hands of the state and from family, friends and community. Some converts are locked up by their families for long periods, beaten and may eventually be expelled from their communities. Local mullahs (Muslim teachers) also preach against them.
Police who raided a Baptist Sunday morning meeting for worship on May 28, 2017 in the southern city of Taraz took 20 men and one woman to the local police station. There, they took their fingerprints, photographed them and recorded their home addresses and other personal data. Police issued summary fines with no court hearing to eight of those present.
In the first half of 2018, Kazakhstan prosecuted at least 69 individuals, religious communities or organizations for religious activities, according to Forum 18. Punishments included fines of up to four months’ average salary (U.S. $1,400) and three-month bans on activities such as distributing religious literature or meeting for worship.
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