Kazakhstan Facts

Score:63/ 100
Region:Central Asia
Persecution Type:Dictatorial Paranoia
Persecution Level:Very High
Main Religion:Islam
Government:Presidential Republic
Leader:President Nursultan Abishuly Nazarbayev

Profile of Persecution

Violence 19%
Church Life 81%
National Life 73%
Community Life 61%
Family Life 65%
Private Life 79%

Surveillance, raids and detentions for Christians

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.

How Christians are suffering

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.

Pray for Kazakhstan

  • Pray for Kazakh believers and for church leaders, especially those pastors who lead secret churches and believers who converted from Islam. Pray for their security amid increasing restrictions and government control.
  • Pray for Christians who are beaten and imprisoned for leaving Islam and turning to Christ.
  • Pray for government authorities who seek to suppress or eradicate Christianity—ask God to reach them with the truth of the gospel.
  • Pray for a radical change in the legislation that tightly restricts religious freedom.

Stories from Kazakhstan

August 12, 2018

Central Asia—where owning a Bible is a punishable crime

What's happening to Christian believers in today's Central Asia republics? And what do you need to know to pray with empathy and knowledge? Read More


May 21, 2018

Once a persecutor, now a Christ-follower—former Muslim shares how he met Jesus during Ramadan

Former Muslims, now Christians, share their stories of finding Jesus during Ramadan and the catalytic impact of their newfound faith on their lives. Read More


February 21, 2018

13 Countries at the Winter Olympics Where Christianity Is Under Threat

During the duration of the Winter Olympics, remember to pray for Christians from countries on the World Watch List. Read More