|Persecution Type:||Dictatorial paranoia|
|Persecution Level:||Very High|
|Leader:||President Emomali Rahmon|
In this central Asian country, no religious activities beyond state-run and state-controlled institutions are allowed. Local authorities and police monitor religious meetings, detain believers, raid church meetings and confiscate religious materials. Here, Christian converts are the main persecution targets by the central government and from family, friends and community.
By tightening already restrictive laws and strictly enforcing them, the government heavily pressures all “deviating” groups. Christians are seen as extremists for their practice of religion outside of state-sanctioned structures, such as the Russian Orthodox Church. Since 2015, authorities have stepped up pressure, playing out in more raids of Christian meetings and more Christians rounded up for interrogation. Members of the Protestant church are commonly regarded as followers of an alien sect with only one goal—to spy and destroy the current political system. As a result, Christians are seen as threats that need to be controlled or eradicated.
If Muslim indigenous citizens convert to Christianity, they are likely to experience pressure and occasional physical violence from their families, friends and local community to force them to return to their former faith. Some converts are locked up by their families for long periods of time and beaten, and may eventually be expelled from their communities. Local mullahs also preach against them, adding even more pressure. As a result, converts in Tajikistan will do their best to hide their faith, becoming “secret believers.”
A senior official in Tajikistan’s customs service confirmed that authorities confiscated and burned 5,000 evangelical Christian calendars ordered by a Baptist church in the Central Asian country.
Specific examples of persecution in Tajikistan usually go unreported by all sources. However, this lack of data doesn’t mean persecution isn’t occurring, but rather that Tajik believers don’t report them to foreign sources.
In-depth research for Open Doors' 2020 World Watch List shows that at least eight Christians, largely in Sub-Saharan Africa, die at the hands of persecutors (extremists, family members and state authorities) each day. Read More
On Wednesday, December 17, at 10 am, imprisoned Tajikistan pastor Bahrom Kholmatov was freed—unexpectedly released three months early from a prison term set to end in March 2020. The Central Asian pastor says that while he was jailed, he felt the thousands of prayers for him. Read More