Kazakhstan’s Senate recently passed new, wide-ranging, and restrictive amendments to the country’s religion law and up to 11 other related measures. Forum 18 reports that the new amendments impose more restrictions on parents’ and children’s freedom to come to worship meetings and teach beliefs, more restrictions and punishments for teaching religion without state permission, and possibly stepping up confiscation of religious literature that does not pass compulsory state censorship requirements. The amendments now go back to the lower house of the Kazakh parliament, and if adopted there, to President Nursultan Nazarbaev for signature.
It is disturbing to see these steady, incremental steps of governments across the former Soviet Union to increase pressure on evangelical churches and freedom of religion in general. The pressure is the most severe in Central Asian republics like Kazakhstan, but also exists in Caucasus nations like Azerbaijan and other Muslim-dominant regions. Please keep our brothers and sisters in these regions in prayer, and ask the Lord to grant SGA wisdom on how we can best support their ministries in the face of growing pressure.
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