|Sources of Persecution||Dictatorial Paranoia|
|Government||Authoritarian Presidential Republic|
|Leader||President Nursultan Nazarbayev|
Kazakhstan: 15,000 Secret Believers.
Life in Kazakhstan is heavily influenced by Islamic standards and laws. Many citizens believe “to be a Kazakh is to be Muslim”. Because of this, those who leave Islam to follow Jesus end up isolated from their communities. It is as if they no longer belong to their own country. Harassment by local police and physical abuse from relatives are some of the pressures Christians face if they refuse to renounce their faith. There are around 15,000 believers from a Muslim background living in Kazakhstan. Many of them run the risk of being locked up by their own families.
Christians make up 12% of the population and life as a minority is difficult. Police are known to film church services revealing believers identities. Many are forced to worship in secret. Printing Christian material is illegal and churches have to be registered. Those who can’t get their building registered are raided and fined. Anyone under 18 is legally not allowed to go to church if their parents disagree with it. This makes it difficult for believers with non-Christian parents to grow in their faith.
Jihadists On The Rise.
There is thought to be at least 300 Kazakh’s fighting with the Islamic State in the Middle East. Believers are fearful of what could happen when these Islamic extremists return home. In response to the potential threat, the government has continued to increase their control over religious groups in the country. The little freedom Christians currently have may soon be stripped away. The Agency of Religious Affairs (ARA) is a committee put in place to monitor believers. Christians have access to Bibles and teaching online, but any books, magazines or DVDs that talk about Jesus are usually confiscated.
Equipped To Endure.
Open Doors works with local partners to help those imprisoned or isolated from their communities. They provide immediate aid for those in need and work to strengthen those who are persecuted. The situation doesn’t look like it will change in Kazakhstan. Believers continue to be equipped. They are given Bibles and can receive Christian training. Local partners also work to educate believers on new ways to earn a living when persecution denies them work.
Pray for those who are in prison or harassed for leaving Islam to follow Christ. Pray that they will have the strength to endure and will have the love of Christ to forgive their persecutors.
Pray that those in positions of power will have their hearts softened towards believers. Pray that they will want to discover Jesus for themselves.
Pray for pastors and leaders of the church. That they will lead their congregation with wisdom and discernment.