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Though Uzbekistan has long been a highly restricted country, its government has made incremental reforms in religious freedom in recent years. This improvement, with unity among believers across several Christian denominations and a focus on training and equipping Christian leaders, is a positive development for the small number of Uzbek churches and Christians. Though restrictions on churches and Christian organizations have eased, evangelism and conversion are opposed, and it is still illegal to distribute evangelistic literature in public.
83 percent of Uzbeks are Sunni Muslims. 2 percent are Christians. Many are irreligious as a result of suffering under decades of atheistic Communist rule prior to the fall of the Soviet Union.
The government gives tacit approval to families that reject family members who become Christians or try to force them back to Islam.
What It Means To Follow Christ In Uzbekistan:
Converts from Islam are persecuted by their families, communities and sometimes by the government. Christians outside the Orthodox denomination are considered religious extremists and have been fined and detained for holding worship services, which the government sometimes considers to be illegal religious activity. Orthodox churches meet openly and legally, but most other Christians meet in unregistered groups. Uzbekistan’s government once routinely imprisoned Christians, but in the last four years even fines and short detentions have become very rare.
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- Pray that house churches will be established throughout the country.
- Pray that those who lost employment because of their faith in Christ will find new jobs.
- Pray for more fellowship and collaboration among churches.
- Pray for Uzbek women who are severely beaten by their relatives for turning to Christ.
- Pray that young Uzbek leaders will be encouraged and equipped to lead new churches.
- Pray that the country's government will change and become known for righteousness and justice.