Human rights officials in Europe and the United States expressed concern Wednesday, May 3, over the persecution of Christians in the former Soviet republic of Uzbekistan, nearly a year after hundreds of people died when security forces opened fire on pro-democracy demonstrators.
A so-called “documentary” televised regionally in Uzbekistan last summer has left entire communities convinced that a Protestant congregation is an “extremist” group worse than fundamentalist Islam.
Iranian Christians are mourning the death of Ghorban Dordi Tourani, an Iranian believer assassinated two weeks ago by an unnamed group of fanatical Muslims and the first Turkmen in Iran known to have been martyred for his Christian faith.
Persecuted Evangelical Christians and missionary workers in Kyrgyzstan were awaiting a new dawn late Thursday, March 24, as lawmakers of this former Soviet republic appointed a new interim president, news reports suggested.
It was back in 1999 that the Turkmenistan government declared its intention to “strangle minority faiths. All foreign Christians were expelled and the persecution of national believers, especially ethnic Turkmen, intensified intolerably.
Turkmenistan's most prominent religious prisoner, the Baptist Shageldy Atakov, has been freed before the end of his four-year sentence, Keston News Service has learnt. The US-based Russian Evangelistic Ministries and the German-based Friedensstimme Mission, which maintain close ties with Baptists in the former Soviet republics, have both confirmed that Atakov was released from prison in the Caspian port city of Turkmenbashi (formerly Krasnovodsk) early on 8 January and has now been reunited with his wife Artygul and five children in the town of Kaakhka close to Turkmenistan's southern border with Iran. "Jesus has given me a Christmas gift," Atakov was quoted as saying (many Christians in the region celebrate Christmas on 7 January).
ASTANA / BUDAPEST , (ANS) -- Leaders and other believers of non registered Baptist and Evangelical churches in the former Soviet republic of Kazakstan are experiencing a new period of persecution by central authorities, reports said Monday July 1.
OXFORD, England (BP)--The wife and children of Baptist prisoner Shageldy Atakov in Turkmenistan have been told by the local mullah, administration officials and officers of the country's political police, the KNB (former KGB), that they may not believe in Jesus Christ and must convert to Islam. According to a statement from local Baptists -- passed on to Keston News Service by the German-based Friedensstimme mission -- officials in the town of Kaakhka, close to Turkmenistan's southern border with Iran, also warned Atakov's wife, Artygyul, that the family home would be confiscated if Christians continue to meet there.
WASHINGTON (BP)--The State Department's second report on global religious liberty presents a challenge for the U.S. government to act against persecution, the chairman of a federal commission said.
Turkmenistan has moved to fifth place on the Open Doors World Watch List of worst persecutors of Christians, behind Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Laos and China, causing "great concern" to persecution watchers around the world.
Five officers of Turkmenistan's secret police, the KNB (former KGB), raided the Baptist church in the western town of Balkanabad (formerly Nebit-Dag) during a service on July 7, Protestant sources have told Keston News Service.
The wife and children of Baptist prisoner Shageldy Atakov in Turkmenistan have been told by the local mullah, administration officials and officers of the country's political police, the KNB (former KGB), that they may not believe in Jesus Christ and must convert to Islam. According to a statement from local Baptists -- passed on to Keston News Service by the German-based Friedensstimme mission -- officials in the town of Kaakhka, close to Turkmenistan's southern border with Iran, also warned Atakov's wife, Artygyul, that the family home would be confiscated if Christians continue to meet there.
ASHGABAD, TURKENISTAN (March 4, 2001) -- The authorities of the Niyazov district of the Turkmen capital Ashgabad broke their own seals on the doors of the city's Baptist church on 2 March and confiscated everything inside. The move was timed on the last working day before nearly a week of public holidays in the country.
Turkmenistan's political police evicted a Protestant Christian pastor with his wife and two children from their home near Ashgabad on December 9, confiscating their personal deed of ownership and sealing the gate to prevent their return.
23 May 2000 (Newsroom) -- Turkmen police have expelled the last remaining Russian Baptist missionary in the country, the Keston News Service reported. Authorities ordered the deportation of Vitali Tereshin in March, but the missionary went into hiding to continue his work. He was located in April by Turkmenistan's political police, the National Security Committee (KNB).
29 February 2000 (Newsroom) -- Turkmen authorities raided a Protestant house-church meeting on February 23 in Bezmein near the capital Ashgabad, according to the Keston News Service.
Saudi Arabia has once again taken the dubious distinction of being the country where Christians are more severely persecuted than any other in the world. This was revealed in the January 2001 release of the Open Doors "World Watch List" (WWL), which ranks countries according to their level of Christian persecution.
Baptist pastor Rahim Tashov and a colleague were hauled into police headquarters in their hometown of Turkmenabad (formerly Chardjou) last Thursday, February 3.