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Tajikistan Facts

Score: 65 / 100
Region: Central Asia
Persecution Type: Dictatorial Paranoia
Persecution Level: Very High
Population: 8,858,000
Christians: 62,200
Main Religion: Islam
Government: Presidential Republic
Leader: President Emomali Rahmon

Profile of Persecution Methodology

Violence 25%
Church Life 77%
National Life 71%
Community Life 70%
Family Life 68%
Private Life 80%

Where Persecution Comes From

In Tajikistan, no religious activities outside of state-run and state-controlled institutions are allowed. Government officials are the main driver of Christian persecution in the country, and since 2015 have significantly stepped up their persecution. Because all Protestants are suspected of being spies intent on destroying the country’s political system, the government is intent on controlling and eradicating their presence completely. There is almost no tolerance of religious education, and church registration is restricted by stringent administrative barriers. All Christian activity is heavily monitored. Since August 2011, any religious activity for persons under the age of 18 has been strictly forbidden.

How Christians are Suffering

Christians in Tajikistan endure various forms of persecution, depending on their background and denominational affinity. Because the Russian Orthodox Church is not engaged in evangelism to Tajiks, and to avoid conflict with Russia, the Tajik government poses very few issues for them.
As in many other countries, converts from Islam in Tajikistan experience the worst persecution, perpetrated by family, friends and their local communities. They face extreme pressure to recant their Christian faith, sometimes even resulting in beatings and house arrest. This is in addition to Christian persecution from the government. Baptist, Evangelical and Pentecostal Christians suffer from raids, threats, arrests and fines from the government, as well.

Examples

In February 2017 the authorities began a series of raids on congregations belonging to the Sunmin Sunbogym (Good News of Grace) Protestant Church in the northern Sogd region, confiscating Christian songbooks and other literature.

Two months later, they arrested Pastor Bakhrom Kholmatov in the regional capital, Khujand. He remains in secret police custody, apparently under investigation on criminal charges of “extremism.”

Meanwhile, officials in Dushanbe closed down two nursery schools. One was closed after officials found a Christian songbook; the other apparently because Protestants were employed there.

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Pray for Tajikistan

  • Pray for Christians who are under surveillance by authorities and are beaten and pressured to renounce their faith by their families. Pray that they will stand strong in the face of this persecution.
  • The regime in Tajikistan puts heavy pressure on “deviating” groups, such as Christians. Pray that this pressure would lessen and that the country would become more open to Christianity.
  • Christians are seen as extremists for their practice of religion outside of state-sanctioned structures. Pray that this view of them would change.

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