WHO IS THE LEADER OF turkmenistan?
President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov is the leader of Turkmenistan.
HOW MANY CHRISTIANS LIVE IN TURKMENISTAN?
69,800 Christians live in Turkmenistan, making up just over one per cent of the total population of 5.9 million.
Most Christians in Turkmenistan are part of the Russian Orthodox church. The indigenous church – formed of Christians who have converted from a Muslim background – is very young and numbers roughly 1,000 believers, but is growing.
WHY ARE CHRISTIANS PERSECUTED IN TURKMENISTAN?
The strongly Islamic culture makes life difficult for converts to Christianity - conversion is regarded as an affront to the honour of the family. Persecution also comes from the state, as Protestant churches are seen as an alien sect aiming to depose the government, hence the need for them to be controlled and eradicated.
WHAT IS LIFE LIKE FOR CHRISTIANS IN TURKMENISTAN?
Police, secret services and local authorities monitor religious activities and regularly attend church services. No religious activities beyond state-run and state-controlled institutions are allowed; unregistered churches suffer repeatedly from police raids, threats, arrests and fines. Even Russian Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic churches may experience Sunday services being monitored. The printing or importing of Christian materials is also restricted.
"We believers of the Evangelical Church, we citizens of Turkmenistan, have a great desire to contribute to our society and our land... We feel sad that we DO not havE the freedom to express our faith and to share this with the people of Turkmenistan."
- Letter from Evangelical church leaders to President Kurbanguly BerdYmukhamedov
Christians from a Muslim background experience pressure and occasionally physical violence from families, friends and local community to force them to return to their former faith. Some converts are locked up by their families for long periods, beaten and may eventually be expelled from their communities.
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, medical care, 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 TURKMENISTAN
Lord God, thank you that people are turning to you in Turkmenistan. Strengthen those who, knowing the risks, have bravely chosen to put their faith in you. Help them to stay strong and persevere, even when the pressure is great. Protect them from harm and hold them secure in strong bonds of love and support from their new family in Christ.
CENTRAL asia RESOURCES: