Kyrgyzstan (MNN) — In the Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan, many marriages begin with bride kidnapping. The practice is especially common in rural areas where as many as one-third of marriages begin this way even though it was outlawed in 1994.
Many in Kyrgyzstan see bride kidnapping as completely normal and harmless, but new studies suggest younger people are beginning to disagree. Many young women have begun migrating into the cities to avoid the practice.
Eric Mock says SGA sees similar customs in surrounding countries of Central Asia as well. He points out that access to the internet has split younger people away from harmful cultural traditions like these. “There are old traditions that are deeply rooted and have existed for a long time. And these traditions often come at the expense of women. In their culture, women have far fewer rights. We are still trying to help people understand the beauty and the equal value of men and women, and the equal rights of men and women.”
Fighting oppressive ideas
Mock has seen women break down in tears after realizing from the Bible that beatings from their husbands are not good or normal in God’s eyes. He has also seen a husband rush out to go and repent to his wife. He says, “Pray for the churches, that they would be bold to push back against culture, to educate the people on God’s design for men and women God’s design for marriage between a man and a woman. And provide God’s truth as the standard.”
As Christians proclaim this new creation perspective, pray many in Central Asia would be drawn to the kingdom of God.
The header photo shows a staged bride kidnapping in Kyrgyzstan in the 1870s. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)