Wednesday, September 20, 2006

WEA RLC: Elections Critical to Religious Tolerance in Tajikistan

"Some 97 per cent of Tajikistan's seven million people are Sunni Muslims. Christianity is amongst the religious minorities, and Protestant Christians are about 0.02 per cent of the population. Though Tajikistan is officially secular the government strongly supports Sunni Islam. Religious minorities are persecuted or heavily restricted, especially in their outreach to the ethnic Tajik population. When ethnic Tajiks become Christians they are ostracised by their Islamic families and community. Please pray for them. Since July 2005 the activities of the churches have been increasingly controlled. Earlier in 2006 a new law was proposed that would severely restrict the churches and stop the activities of non-registered religious bodies. Getting registration for a church in Tajikistan is very difficult now but under the draft law it would be almost impossible. Please pray that it will be dropped.


* the continuing growth of the Church in Tajikistan and the many converts among ethnic Tajiks; for the eastern mountainous areas, where the Islamic influence is very strong, to be reached by the gospel.

* God's protection of and provision for all Christians, especially church leaders, workers, and missionaries, as well as their ministries particularly amongst young people and in prisons; also for converts from Islam and wisdom for church leaders working in hostile Islamic environments.

* the presidential elections on 6 November this year, that they will help Tajikistan move towards greater democracy and freedom.

* the draft law on religion to be dropped, and for the existing law to continue as it maintains the rights of religious minorities and meets international standards."

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