Where Persecution Comes From
In Turkmenistan, Christian persecution stems from both the government and Islamic culture. The authoritarian government cracks down on Christianity through local police, secret services and local authorities. No religious activities are allowed, aside from those the state controls. Because Christians must operate outside state-sanctioned structures, they are often labeled as “extremists,” and are suspected of trying to topple the government. In addition to this government-perpetrated persecution, the Muslim community places intense pressure on those who convert from Islam to Christianity. Families, friends and local communities of converts all work together to convince them to return to their former faith, sometimes even using violence to this end.
How Christians are Suffering
All Christian activities in Turkmenistan are heavily monitored. Raids on house churches lacking proper registration are common, and members are subjected to detainment, torture, threats and fines. Religious materials are regularly seized as contraband. For converts, most persecution comes from within the home or local community. Some are locked up by their own families, beaten or disowned as a result of their conversion to Christianity. Local mullahs preach against these converts as well, ensuring that the entire community is united against them. Because of the intense pressure they face, many converts try to hide their faith entirely, becoming so-called “secret believers.”
In April 2016, Turkmenistan introduced a new law on religion that places tighter control on church life.
A Turkmen teacher was recently met by police at her job who told her she needed to renounce her Christian faith. When she refused, she was fired.
Pray for Turkmenistan
- Turkmenistan is considered to be one of the most restrictive countries in the world. Pray for increased freedoms in the country.
- Pray for believers from a Muslim background who are fiercely pressured to return to Islam. Pray for their protection and endurance.
- Pray that security forces who are monitoring Christians would encounter the gospel. Pray that their hearts would be softened and that they might become advocates and protectors of Christians in Turkmenistan.
Stories from Turkmenistan
Former Muslims, now Christians, share their stories of finding Jesus during Ramadan and the catalytic impact of their newfound faith… + READ MORE
Karina, a Turkmen teacher, knew Jesus’ call for total abandonment to Him; however, she never expected the police to show… + READ MORE