What does persecution look like in Kazakhstan?
Since 2011, religious freedom has been restricted in Kazakhstan, a country where government surveillance and control continues to increase.
Russian Orthodox Christians are generally left alone by the state as long as they do not try to influence Muslim-background Kazakhs. However, believers from Muslim backgrounds are persecuted by both the state and their own communities. When somebody becomes a Christian, they are at a high risk of being locked up by their families, kept from any other Christians, verbally and physically abused and potentially cut off from their family and community. The authorities monitor and raid meetings of Christian converts and may arrest and imprison their church leaders. The authorities raid Christian gatherings and can fine, detain and imprison believers – particularly Christian leaders.
It is difficult for Christians to earn a living – in rural areas in particular, authorities will demand bribes from Christians trying to run businesses. Some business owners keep their faith a secret. Converts and church leaders are at particular risk of losing employment due to their faith.
Who is most vulnerable to persecution?
Believers from Muslim backgrounds are at risk all over the country, but face more pressure from their communities in rural areas.
“The worst possible scenario is that the church will be closed, and several people may be jailed.”John, whose church faced attack and accusations
What has changed this year?
Persecution against Christians got slightly worse in Kazakhstan last year – mainly in increasing pressure in community and church life. Christians face pressure from Muslim families, friends and villagers within their community, while the government imposes many restrictions on church activities.
What does Open Doors do to help Christians in Kazakhstan?
Open Doors strengthens persecuted Christians in Central Asia by providing Bibles and Christian literature, biblical and vocational training, socio-economic development projects, and children's, youth and women's ministries.
How can you pray for Kazakhstan?
- Please pray for provision for Christian families struggling to earn a living
- Pray for protection over churches meeting in secret
- Pray that the authorities would be impressed by Christians' integrity and grant them more freedom.
Heavenly Father, we pray You will encourage church leaders in Kazakhstan and those who are boldly following You against their family's will. Please surround them with all the support they need to follow and serve You. We pray Your protection over Christian gatherings and that, through Your people's courage and witness, the Kazakh church will grow. Amen.