In the eyes of people in her village, Nina* was an infidel who abandoned her faith. At first, her husband, who was Muslim, had no idea that she had become a Christian and was attending church in secret until the villagers found out and told him. The villagers said he could not now be buried in his native village because they considered him an infidel too.
He was so angry at the perceived shame Nina brought on him that he beat her. She was in hospital for 8 days. He also beat his son because he had also been going to church with his mother.
Nina’s husband told her to renounce her faith in Jesus and stop going to church, but she refused and stood firm in her new faith. Because of this, he left her. Currently, she is living alone with her son. She has lost hearing in her right ear due to the beating. Please pray for Nina and her son.
Nina is one of the many people in Kyrgyzstan suffering for their faith.
In regions outside the capital, Bishkek, Islamic extremists continue to target and violently attack non-Muslims.
According to Forum 18 (a human rights organisation promoting religious freedom), the sharp rise in these attacks that began in 2022 shows no signs of slowing down in 2023. Many believe that local authorities are complicit in these targeted attacks. With no one to turn to for help, non-Muslims are in a vulnerable state.
There have been cases of Islamic radicals preventing non-Muslims from conducting funerals and hindering them from honoring the wishes of the deceased. In order to bury their loved ones, some had no choice but to convert to Islam.
In November 2022, a mob threatened ethnic Kyrgyz Christians to force them out of their homes if they did not convert to Islam. Forum 18 reported that local authorities had intervened to calm the situation but did not bring any charges against the perpetrators.
Officials refused to explain why no legal actions are being taken against the people involved and did not comment on any plans to prevent such attacks from happening again. Local believers stay silent without complaining due to fears of reprisals from authorities and mobs if they were to raise their voices.
Kanatbek Midin uuly of the State Commission for Religious Affairs, while speaking about the attacks, said, “These are only isolated cases. They cannot cast a shadow on the generally positive situation for religious freedom.” However, considering the numerous attacks and injustices Kirgiz non-Muslims are facing, religious freedom seems like a luxury only Muslims can afford.
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