|Sources of Persecution||Dictatorial Paranoia|
|Government||Authoritarian Presidential Republic|
|Leader||President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow|
Turkmenistan: A Dictatorship In Central Asia.
The country's leader exerts a high level of state control. His regime has imposed laws to severely restrict religious freedom. The indigenous church is young and small. Of the population, 96% are Muslim and less than 2% are Christian. Most Christians belong to ethnic minorities, mainly Russian. There is little cooperation and much division between the various denominations. This weakens the church and makes it easier for the government to control.
A Church Under Siege.
Unregistered religious groups can’t conduct religious activities. Foreign missionary activity and religious organisations are outlawed. Border controls are strict and it is difficult to get Christian material into Turkmenistan. Believers from a Muslim background experience much pressure from family, friends and local community. Relatives may use violence to make them turn back to Islam. Local police may also be involved in pressuring new Christians. Believers have been fired from their jobs when it became known they were Christian. Christian children and youth have been subject to slander and propaganda from their schools.
Corruption And Censorship.
Despite potential wealth from vast natural resources, only a small elite benefit. There is corruption on all levels of government. Turkmenistan has a bad reputation for human rights abuse. It has a high level of unemployment and poverty. Prisons and labour camps are overpopulated and conditions are terrible. Broadcast media is government controlled and censored. The government controls internet access and foreign Christian sites are blocked.
“A couple of days ago I was called to security services and was questioned. They knew about me, my ministry and church. Everything in all details. They probably have their spy among members of the church. I was forced to give detailed explanations of my activities. Then they warned and threatened that next time I would be fined, and further, arrested and imprisoned. I really don’t want to be arrested or to be in prison, but I know that God wants me to stay in my native country, in this city to be His witness for this nation.” – Church Pastor, Turkmenistan
Pray that the various Christian denominations find love and unity in the spirit.
Pray that believers suffering for their faith find fellowship and comfort.
Pray for more religious freedom so the church can receive ministry from outside the country.