World Watch Ranking: 47

What does persecution look like in Kazakhstan?

Like many other countries in Central Asia, Kazakhstan creates many challenges for believers. Religious freedom in the country has been under constant threat since legislation was introduced in 2011 that gave the government significant control over religion. For Christians, this means increased surveillance, raids on meetings, arrests and imprisonment. Any church outside of the Russian Orthodox Church (which is mostly tolerated as long as it doesn't try to share the gospel with Muslims) is in constant danger of intense monitoring and crackdowns from the state authorities.

Converts from Islam suffer the harshest persecution. They can be locked up by their families, beaten and eventually kicked out of their communities, leaving them without resources or relationships. Local religious leaders also preach against converts.

Christians across Kazakhstan also report discrimination and difficulty in earning a living. In some parts of the country, certain Christian businesses are expected to pay bribes to stay open. This extortion drives some business owners to keep their faith a secret. Some believers also lose their jobs, particularly if they are church leaders.

Who is most vulnerable to persecution?

Persecution in Kazakhstan is strongest for converts from Islam and for church leaders. Additionally, pressure on converts is higher in rural areas.

 Meet 'Samil'

"It is very difficult for me to endure the persecution within the family. But over the years, God has done so much, I have seen so many miracles from God."

Samil, a Christian from Central Asia

What has changed this year?

Kazakhstan continues to be a difficult place for followers of Jesus to live and worship. Not much has changed, but as long as the legal regulations around religion continue, the situation will be difficult in Kazakhstan. Additionally, families and communities put so much pressure on anyone who converts from Islam that it can be difficult for followers of Jesus who come from a Muslim background.

What does Open Doors do to help Christians in Kazakhstan?

Open Doors strengthens persecuted Christians in Central Asia by providing Bibles and Christian literature, discipleship, vocational training, medical and social care, socio-economic development projects, and children's, youth and women's ministries.

How can you pray for Kazakhstan?

  • Pray that God would protect Christians who convert from Islam. Ask Him to help Kazakh believers find safety from the pressure and oppression that comes from family and community.
  • Pray for church leaders who are monitored by the government. Pray for safety.
  • Pray that more believers in Kazakhstan would gain access to Bibles and Christian literature to help them grow in their faith.
a PRAYer for Kazakhstan

God, we pray with our brothers and sisters in Kazakhstan as they follow You. We pray for the church leaders who risk arrest every time their church meets. We pray for converts from Islam who have been kicked out of their homes and have lost so much. We pray for those who are interrogated, beaten and imprisoned. We know that Your heart burns with compassion for Your people. Please help them! In Jesus' name and for His sake, Amen.

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Map thumbnail
Persecution Level

Very High

Persecution Type
  • Dictatorial paranoia
  • Islamic oppression
  • Clan oppression

Population of Christians
4,859,000 (25%)

Main Religion

Presidential Republic

President Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev

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