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Tajik Children barred from attending church – March 13th 2019

World Watch Monitor, February 25, 2019 

Tajik authorities are barring children from attending religious services and have burned thousands of calendars with Bible verses.

In December, the official responsible for non-Muslim communities, visited a religious community to obtain information.  While he was present, a few children under the age of 10 came into the meeting to see their parents briefly.

He later summoned the leaders of the community to explain why the children were present in the meeting.  The community was fined almost eight times the average monthly wage for violating the Religion Law.

In the same month, 5,000 calendars with Bible verses were confiscated by custom officials and destroyed.

Tajikistan has the highest percentage of Muslims in Central Asia, approximately 97%, but the former Soviet republic is determined to be secular and to keep Islam under control.

‘Islamic oppression’ and ‘dictatorial paranoia’ has made Tajik Christians a target of persecution.  Christian converts from a Muslim background are most vulnerable.