WHO IS THE LEADER OF KAZAKHSTAN?
President Nursultan Nazarbayev is the leader of Kazakhstan.
HOW MANY CHRISTIANS LIVE IN KAZAKHSTAN?
4.6 million Christians live in Kazakhstan, making up almost a quarter of the total population of 18.4 million. Most of the Christians there are from a Russian background, but 15,000 indigenous Kazakh Muslims have become Christian in the last 30 years.
WHY ARE CHRISTIANS PERSECUTED IN KAZAKHSTAN?
The Kazakhstan government is constantly working to increase its control over the whole of society, and no religious activities beyond state-run and state-controlled institutions are allowed. Members of Protestant churches are particularly targeted since they are regarded as a foreign influence aiming to destroy the current political system, and that needs to be severely controlled.
The strongly Islamic society also makes life difficult for believers from Muslim backgrounds. Christianity is seen as a Russian religion.
WHAT IS LIFE LIKE FOR CHRISTIANS IN KAZAKHSTAN?
Churches are monitored by the state. 50 citizen-sponsors are needed to register a church, and unregistered churches are illegal. Unregistered churches are frequently raided and fined.
Christians from Muslim backgrounds often keep their faith secret, as they face huge pressure from their families and communities if their new faith is discovered. Some converts are locked up by their families for long periods, beaten and may eventually be expelled from their communities.
And yet, despite the persecution they face, there are Muslims turning to Christ in Kazakhstan. Roman was a devout Muslim who decided to visit the local Baptist church to see the ‘betrayers of the real faith’ during Ramadan. “By ‘betrayers’ I meant ‘Christians with a Muslim background’. I decided to go to the church service during Ramadan because I considered myself to be a devout Muslim. I wanted to prove my faith to Allah.”
"For the first time I heard about a God who loved me."
- Roman, a believer FROM A MUSLIM BACKGROUND
The church service started, but Roman couldn’t force himself to stand up and cause a scene. The words that were spoken touched him. “For the first time I heard about a God who loved me. I never knew that the almighty God loved me even though I am not perfect. That thought seriously never entered my mind. I always felt guilty. I felt that I had to earn His attention.”
HOW CAN I HELP CHRISTIANS IN CENTRAL ASIA?
You can give to provide vital support
Open Doors strengthens the persecuted church in Central Asia with Christian literature, training, relief aid and socio-economic development projects.
£26 could provide children's Bibles for four children in Central Asia.
You can SPEAK OUT
Sign up for advocacy alerts for updates on how you can be a voice for our persecuted church family.
You can pray
Brother Andrew, the founder of Open Doors, says, “Our prayers can go where we cannot... There are no borders, no prison walls, no doors that are closed to us when we pray.”
A PRAYER FOR KAZAKHSTAN
Powerful God, we lift to You those who are persecuted in Kazakhstan. Protect their church meetings, Sunday School groups, youth activities and summer camps. Build your kingdom, regardless of restrictions in the law. Comfort and strengthen those who have been beaten and imprisoned for following You.
CENTRAL asia RESOURCES: