Sadly, an Easter service of a church in Qarshi, Uzbekistan, was disrupted by police on Easter Sunday (9 April). Police forced their way into the meeting and 10 men were arrested. Several people were beaten. This church has many deaf brothers and sisters.
We don’t often get access to footage of raids on churches, but one member of the congregation bravely filmed what was happening – you can see some of the scenes via the tweet below (source: Friedenstimme on Twitter).
De paasviering van de gemeente in Qarshi, Oezbekistan, werd deze morgen ruw verstoord door de politie. Zij vielen met grof geweld de samenkomst binnen. 10 mannen werden gearresteerd. Diverse mensen werden hard geslagen.
In deze gemeente zijn veel dove broeders en zusters. pic.twitter.com/RTROhJFRio
— Friedensstimme (@Friedensstimme) April 9, 2023
Local Baptists said 10 church members, including young people, were taken to the police station. Video images show police officers holding one church member Yokub round the neck as he was on the ground, and as they put him in a police van. The officer warns another officer that a church member is filming the arrest and a man runs towards the camera.
Church members say the raid followed the Church’s attempts to rent 15 local halls for presentations of the Christian faith to mark Easter. Visiting German musicians were to be involved in these meetings. All the rental attempts were blocked (see below).
Uzbekistan is no 21 on the 2023 Open Doors World Watch List. It is largely Muslim country, so any Christian who converts from Islam faces increased pressure from their family and community. These converts may be beaten or expelled from their communities. Women and girls are particularly vulnerable to house arrest, which remains a common and socially accepted form of pressuring female converts. These girls and women also risk being kidnapped and married off to a Muslim – or, if she is already married, divorced and denied any possessions. As a result of all these risks, many converts from Islam are forced to hide their faith.
Christians who are a part of protestant non-registered churches may be viewed as ‘extremists’, and the government believes church members are spies trying to destroy the government. Therefore, Christians and their churches may be monitored, and unregistered churches may be the victims of police raids, arrests and fines.
Please pray for this congregation and those arrested. We don’t currently have an update on the situation, but please pray that…
Further source: Article 18…
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.