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Uzbekistan

RegionCentral Asia
Sources of PersecutionDictatorial Paranoia
Population30,691,000
Christian Population350,000
ReligionsIslam
GovernmentAuthoritarian Presidential Republic
LeaderPresident Shavkat Mirziyoyev
Score71/100

Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan: Christians Not Allowed To Meet. 
The country allows freedom of religion, but it also has one of the harshest dictatorships in Asia. Christians here face regular persecution. Frequent raids, beatings and interrogations make life as a believer far from easy. They are not allowed to meet with other Christians, own religious literature or have worship music on their smartphones. Their phones are constantly monitored, houses can be bugged, and wearing a cross places you at risk of intimidation and pressure. Many are in prison or labour camps for owning a Bible.

Youth At Risk. 
A quarter of the population is under the age of 14. With limited jobs and pressure to enrol in the army, many are drawn to fight with extremist groups. Hundreds have currently left the country to join the Islamic State. Youth ministries are also illegal, leaving teenagers susceptible to negative influences.

Children with Christian parents are excluded and mocked for their family’s faith. Some are bullied and beaten at school. They are forced to attend “special lectures” about the dangers of Christianity. If parents have converted from Islam they can be taken away, isolated or put under house arrest. Family pressures often lead to couples divorcing and Christian families dividing. Authorities hope that all the pressure will force believers to deny Christ.

No New Churches For 15 Years. 
It is impossible to run and open new Churches in Uzbekistan. Places of worship have to be approved by the government and permission hasn't been given for 15 years. It’s illegal for pastors to train and disciple people.

Many are publicly beaten and harassed. Christians are often not allowed to speak out against their persecutors and have no access to fair trials. Many churches have been infiltrated by spies and are monitored closely. Uzbekistan’s paranoid government believe Christians are a threat to society. There is a desire to control and wipe them out.

“Jesus says: ‘Go and preach the Gospel’. When I was arrested there were other believers in the interrogation room next to me. The police told me: ‘The others have betrayed you. Now you will end up in jail.’  I started to laugh and I said: ‘Even in prison I will continue to preach. All prisoners have time to listen to the Gospel.’ They said: ‘You are a fool!’ I answered: ‘Yes, I am a fool for Jesus.’ God wants us to become mature in the faith. Only a mature Christian can do courageous things. Through persecution we become mature Christians.” – Uzbek Believer

Pray for Uzbekistan

Pray for Christians who continue to meet despite the dangers.

Pray for Bibles and Christian literature to be made safely available to new believers.

Pray for opportunities for believers to express and share their faith.