|Last year’s rank||33|
|Population||9 657 000|
|Christians||65 300 (0.7%)|
The government of Tajikistan is largely authoritarian, ruled by President Emomali Rahmon since 1994. Because of the totalitarian leadership structure, any perceived “deviation” from any group is treated with suspicion. This means authorities put significant pressure on Christians through tightening existing laws and strictly enforcing the ones that already exist, such as greatly restricting the public training of church leaders.
The Russian Orthodox Church is registered and somewhat tolerated, since they don’t usually reach out to the Tajik population. But Protestants are viewed with significant suspicion and are seen as extremists. Additionally, Tajikistan is predominantly Muslim, which means converts from Islam are at risk from their families and communities in addition to the broader persecution from the one-party state.
What changed this year? The pressure on Christians in Tajikistan has largely stayed the same from year to year, even as the ranking fell significantly – the decrease in rank was mostly due to rising persecution scores for many other countries.
Meet Pastor Bahrom
“Early last year, my church was attacked, and the church building was confiscated by the court. Our church is now gathering inside a shipping container.”
Pastor Bahrom, a church leader in Tajikistan.
What does Open Doors do to help Christians in Central Asia?
Open Doors provides immediate aid to Central Asian believers when they are imprisoned, excluded from families and communities, and deprived of livelihood and employment because of their faith in Christ. Open Doors also strengthens the persecuted Church in Central Asia through things like literature distribution, biblical training and persecution preparedness training.