Imagine living in a country where simply owning the latest worship CD or Christian book could get you in trouble with the police.
Well, that’s the reality for Christians living in Uzbekistan. Recently some have been punished for having religious literature at home.
Stanislav Kim was given two years’ ‘corrective labour’ for having religious books at home, something the authorities punish as ‘illegal’. He must live at home under restrictions with a fifth of his wages seized by the state. Courts often order such religious literature destroyed. This is the second time that Kim, a Baptist from the north-western Khorezm Region, has been found guilty of this offence.
Elswehere, a Presbyterian Christian in the capital Tashkent was fined in May for having religious literature at home. The Christian literature was ordered to be handed to the state-backed Muslim Board. A criminal trial against him for ‘illegal’ use of computers began in September.
In Zarafshan, a city in Central Uzbekistan, a Baptist pastor and his wife were fined for Bibles and Baptist song books seized from their home.
In Surkhandarya, a region in the south east of the country, four Baptists were also punished when religious literature was discovered and confiscated during an illegal house search. Officials ordered the destruction of two Bibles, as well as other books and CDs. The authorities claimed that one book was banned because it could be used to spread a faith. They also stated that Baptists are banned in the Region because they do not have state registration.
“Please pray for the Christians in Uzbekistan,” said a source. “It’s getting more and more difficult to spread the gospel with literature.”
Source: Forum 18
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