Kyrgyzstan (MNN) — A case of crucial importance for all believers in Kyrgyzstan is finally headed to trial.
Kyrgyzstan made the Open Doors World Watch List this year at #48 for its tight grip on Christians. It's not uncommon for believers to face property destruction, intimidation, and physical harm in Kyrgyzstan. Despite a 2009 Religion Law, the nation is currently considering tighter censorship on all religious literature as well.
Christians may constantly be under a microscope in Kyrgyzstan, but an incident in April was especially disturbing.
Narsbek was invited to a school by the principal and several village leaders to distribute Samaritan's Purse shoe boxes in his home village of Ak-Kyia in the Naryn region of Kyrgyzstan, reports Voice of the Martyrs. Narsbek and a team arrived in the village on the morning of April 11, 2012 in two vehicles.
As they greeted the principal and other leaders, the village mosque leader, or mullah, appeared with his students in tow. He ordered the group to stop the distribution immediately. Instead, the principal directed the team to move their vehicles onto the school yard, and the mullah left.
But a few moments later, he reappeared–this time with a group of about 20 young zealots with him. The mob shouted "Allahu Akbar" and rushed in to pummel the visiting Christians, flinging rocks through the air. They grabbed Narsbek and his brother-in-law, Marazat, pinning them to the ground to beat them. Narsbek was hit in the back of the head with a rock, and another attacker clenched his hands around his throat.
Just when Narsbek thought he would be leaving the earth forever, his wife managed to surprise his attacker and the two barely escaped in their battered van.
The remaining attackers reportedly collected the Samaritan's Purse shoe boxes and burned them in the school yard in front of the students and school staff.
Although the distribution team notified local authorities of the incident, police took no action. Narsbek still has remaining damage to his right eye, as well as reoccurring headaches.
Narsbek decided to file a case against the mullah to prompt authorities to act, but even that didn't get results. Finally, Narsbek and his family got a lawyer from another city to come speak to the local state attorney, police, and village leaders. The lawyer reminded the local officials that Kyrgystan's new president had stated it was important not to have conflict over ethnic or religious issues and that the country's laws must be followed.
It appears that Narsbek's case will go all the way to the country's Supreme Court, according to VOM. If it does, it would be a victory for believers all over the country.
Narsbek recently told VOM, "We are pushing this case not for our own benefit, but so that everyone will feel safe and not afraid of being beaten or killed because of their religion. People… are very afraid to think about following Jesus… Please pray that justice would reign and that there would be freedom, and not fear, in following Jesus."
Pray that this case will not only promote religious freedom in Kyrgyzstan, but that the injustice would cause Kyrgyzstanis to think about and even give their lives to Christ.