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KYRGYZSTAN: CHURCH OF MUSLIM CONVERTS TOLD TO CLOSE

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(July 12, 2018) A church in Kyrgyzstan that is home to many former Muslims has been ordered to cease its Sunday worship.

A local source told World Watch Monitor that services at the church, which is led by a convert from Islam, have been interrupted twice in the last few months by a group of people consisting of local officials, representatives of the prosecutor’s office and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, assistants to the local imam, and former colleagues from the school at which the pastor used to teach.

On both occasions, members of the group demanded that the service be stopped and told them: “You will not be able to live and carry out your ministry here.” The church members tried to settle the conflict, but the group continued to issue threats and insults.

The church members then started filming them with their mobile phones, after which the group left the building hiding their faces but saying to the congregation: “We will come here again and again to disturb and persecute you in every possible way,” the source said.

The church has for more than a decade been led by Pastor ‘Miran’. The leadership of the school where he worked threatened to fire him after they learned of his conversion and his role as a church leader. He was also accused of child abuse by the school and jailed for six months. The source said that no lawyer would defend him at his trial because they were afraid of falling foul to the security services, no witnesses were present in court, and the charge against him was not proven. The source said the church felt the allegation was only levelled against him because of his conversion.

Since his release, Pastor Miran, a father of five, has been unable to find paid work. According to a local source, local Muslims say of him: “If Miran could betray his native pure Islam, maybe he could do other bad things too.”

Voice of the Martyrs Korea board chair Hyun Sook Foley encourages the Korean church to join the Kyrgyz church in prayer for Pastor Miran.

“Let’s pray that the Lord with strengthen Pastor Miran as he faces his latest difficulty and provide for all of his needs,” Board chair Foley says. “Pray that the church members may act as a powerful witness for the community, including the people who dislike Pastor Miran.”

Source: World Watch Monitor, Voice of the Martyrs Australia

To learn more about the persecution facing Christians like Pastor Miran in Kyrgyzstan, read Voice of the Martyrs Korea’s Kyrgyzstan Country profileYou can also visit the Voice of the Martyrs Korea website (www.vomkorea.kr) to read the profiles of the more than 70 other countries around the world where Christians are persecuted.

The cover of a Kyrgyz Bible

Tags: central asia, hyun sook foley, kyrgyzstan, persecution, voice of the martyrs, world watch monitor