Christians in Uzbekistan face religious restrictions and abuse.

By October 1, 2004

Uzbekistan (MNN) — Police raided a prayer meeting in Uzbekistan and claimed there’s no need for Christian churches there. Religious meetings in private homes are illegal under Uzbek law which bans all unregistered religious activity.

According to Forum 18 News Service, the church members were meeting in a home in the city of Samarqand, when police burst in without a warrant, began filming those present, and confiscated Bibles and private notebooks. Several police officers identified themselves as Muslims and told the Christians there is no need for any Christian churches or other faiths in Uzbekistan.

Forum 18 says that religious groups, especially Protestants, have seen increased abuse during 2004. There are strict registration requirements for religious minorities in Uzbekistan, and Christian churches are rarely granted official permits, even when they do meet requirements.

Therefore, Christians must meet for worship illegally and face possible prosecution if discovered. Uzbekistani law restricts the freedom of minority religious groups to seek converts, distribute literature, and provide private religious instruction.

Unregistered Churches continue to face interrogations, fines, raids, and discrimination against members. Two Christian students were expelled from their college in early September.

Pray for believers in Uzbekistan as they live for God in a climate of harassment and fear from the Islamic religious majority.

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