A group of about six officials – two of them in police uniforms – raided Begjan Shirmedov’s home in Dashoguz in the North of Turkmenistan on Sunday 23 September. They arrived during a house meeting of his Baptist congregation, Path of Faith Church, attended by about 15 church members.
The officials told them that religious activity without state registration is illegal. The believers replied that they have been attempting to obtain registration in vain since 2004.
Police searched every room in the house and confiscated all Christian literature and CDs. When they asked where the literature had come from, family members insisted they had collected the books over many years as they have been Christians since the mid-1990s.
About 15 church members, women and children included, were taken away to be questioned. According to a Forum 18 report “Begjan Shirmedov was dragged out of the house by his collar”. Begjan is 77 years old, an elderly man who according to the Turkmen tradition should be treated with more respect. “They treated an elderly man like a tramp in front of his wife, his children, church members and neighbours without fear of having to answer for their actions.”
Meanwhile the other church members were fingerprinted and questioned about their religious activity. Later that day they were released.
Source >> http://opendoors.org/
The state exerts strict control in order to avoid the emergence of any independent economic, social or cultural groups – which includes churches. All unregistered religious activity is illegal and the government uses the ‘Council on Religious Affairs’, police and the secret services to keep the church under surveillance. The frequency of raids, even on registered churches, has increased and obtaining registration is nearly impossible. Formal religious education is almost totally banned, as are all religious publications.
- For Muslim Background Believers who face more problems than other persecuted Christians, including physical attacks
- That government officials will be willing to register churches
- Give thanks that Pastor Ilmurad was released from prison in 2012; he must now report to the police each week.
Source >> http://worldwatchlist.us/
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