What does persecution look like in Tajikistan?
No religious activities beyond state-run and controlled institutions are allowed in Tajikistan.
Historical Christian communities such as the Russian Orthodox Church, which makes up the majority of Christians in the country, are largely tolerated by the regime, which doesn't see them as a threat as they tend not to reach out to Tajiks. However, registering non-Orthodox or non-Catholic Christian groups is effectively impossible, making all religious activities carried out by these groups technically illegal. In 2022, the government announced that no new churches could be registered. Church services are often disrupted and Christians risk harassment and arrest for holding private prayer meetings or possessing "illegal" religious material. Children are prohibited from participating in public religious activities.
Christians who come to faith from a Muslim background can face additional pressure from their family and local community to renounce their faith, based on the belief that a true Tajik can only be Muslim.
Christians throughout Tajikistan face hostility from the authorities. In rural regions, Christians face heightened levels of pressure from their families and local communities.
Meet a Tajik church leader
"The good news is that, despite all the prohibitions, the church in Tajikistan is growing in numbers and, God willing, will continue to grow."
What has changed this year?
There have been no changes in government policy regarding freedom of religion since the introduction of the new religion law in January 2018. This means that raids on meetings, the arrest and interrogation of Christians, fines and confiscation of religious materials continue to occur.
Open Doors strengthens persecuted Christians in Central Asia by providing Bibles and Christian literature, biblical and vocational training, medical and social care, socio-economic development projects, and children's, youth and women's ministries.
How can you pray for Tajikistan?
- Please pray that the government would ease their tight grip on religious freedom.
- Pray that believers from Muslim backgrounds who are under pressure will not lose hope or faith in Jesus.
- Ask that church leaders and local partners will have time to rest to avoid burn out from their ministry.
Lord God, we praise You for the wonderful things You're doing in and through Your people in Tajikistan. Refresh the spirits of weary and discouraged believers, and heal all those feeling the pain of rejection or abuse. Meet the needs of Christians who've lost their jobs or been fined for their faith, and protect the families of leaders who are facing the pressures of serving churches in a climate of persecution. Help Your children to keep their eyes fixed on You, and may joy fill the homes of believers and the places where they gather. Soften the hearts of local community leaders towards Your church, and may this influence the way that others treat Christians. Amen.