Tajik Woman May be Forced into Marriage
Parvina* is a 32 year old, unmarried Christian woman from Tajikistan. She is a member of the worship team in one of the local churches. In Muslim countries, women of this age are often considered too old to get married. Parvina’s parents, who are not believers, constantly criticize her for taking on an “alien” faith that they believe will prevent her from ever getting married. Parvina’s parents recently started pressuring her to agree to become the second wife of a man who is a nominal Muslim. Though Parvina is opposed to the idea, her parents and relatives can force Parvina to marry him against her will.
In Tajikistan, persecution of Christians often comes from families, such as in Parvina’s case. This persecution frequently comes from the government as well. Tajik authorities have now officially banned the organization and participation of foreign citizens and people without citizenship in rallies, protests and marches. On June 25, the Tajik parliament approved the amendments and additions to the law that contained the new rules concerning public rallies and marches, which make foreigners and stateless persons ineligible to participate in and carry out mass actions.
Observers believe that the ban on foreigners holding and participating in mass actions is a reaction to the events in Ukraine. Some officials have expressed concerns that the change of power in Ukraine is provoked by “external forces.” A majority of the local society believe that Western special services operate and carry out their activities through the local Protestant churches. Because of this false belief, the local evangelical church is being targeted by the government as a potential danger to the current power.
*Name changed to protect her identity
Father, we pray for Your church in Tajikistan as they struggle against pressure from their families, communities and government. We lift up Parvina- that You will protect her from this marriage, and from the pressures of her family. We pray for her family, that they will see Parvina’s strong faith and her godly behavior. And we pray for Tajik Christians, that You will use their lives of godliness and compassion to draw many into Your kingdom. We pray against the political atmosphere of suspicion and fear, that You will soften the hearts of government leaders to see the truth of Your gospel and turn their hearts to repentance and faith. In the name of Jesus, who builds and preserves His church for all eternity, Amen.