Converts from Islam to Christianity in Kyrgyzstan (which has a more than 80% Muslim majority population) are facing increasing pressure from their relatives, who now often have the backing of mosque leaders. One young believer was put in a psychiatric hospital by her parents because she refused to renounce her Christian faith; this action was recommended to the parents by a mullah who specialises in getting converts back to Islam.
Several converts have had to flee to Russia because of persecution by their families. Leaving Islam is seen by most Muslims as an act of treachery against the umma (Islamic nation worldwide) and is punishable by death according to sharia law.
The state closely monitors Christian activity in Kyrgyzstan. The Religion Law states that every congregation must apply for official registration, itself a cumbersome process. Unregistered groups are not allowed to meet and registered groups are subject to intrusive monitoring by the authorities, who may attend services, take and ask questions. The law does not allow children to be involved in religious groups. It also states that all religious literature, from faith must be examined by state officials and restricts evangelism
Christians in Kyrgyzstan are concerned about a proposed new law on religion, which would require every church to have 500 members in order to be registered (up from 200 under the existing law) and each of the 500 to submit a notarized document with their passport information. The new demands would be extremely difficult to meet, especially in rural parts of the country, where it is already difficult to gather 200 founders to register a church. Under the proposed law, there would also be harsher punishments for those convicted of taking part in unauthorised religious activities.
Give thanks for the unwavering faith of Christians in Kyrgyzstan despite the difficult conditions imposed on them. Pray for Christian converts from Islam, that they will be protected from discrimination and from harm as they live out their bold decision. Ask the Lord to be sovereign over the decisions taken by Kyrgyz lawmakers. Pray that the proposal to increase the number of church members for official registration will not succeed, and pray also that other laws concerning Christian gatherings will be eased.