ADVERTISING
 
Sunday, March 29   Sign in or Register
 
Evangelical Focus
 
Flecha
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
FOLLOW US ON
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud
 

Newsletter
Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.
 
 

POLL
Coronavirus
Which of these online initiatives should churches prioritise?






SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



Ukraine and Uzbekistan
 

Baptists fined in Eastern Ukraine, detained and beaten in Uzbekistan

The Luhansk People's Republic (Ukraine) has banned all Protestant worship, and believers try to meet in small gatherings. Uzbekistan raids worship services that have not been approved by the authorities.

SOURCES Forum 18 News AUTHOR Evangelical Focus LUHANSK| URGENCH 25 OCTOBER 2019 15:00 h GMT+1
City center of Luhansk. / Wikimedia Commons.

Pro-Russian rebels seized parts of Ukraine's Luhansk Region in March 2014 and the following month proclaimed what they called the Luhansk People's Republic (LPR), which currently controls about a third of the region.



The unrecognised LPR has banned worship in all Protestant churches and Jehovah's Witness places of worship, as well as in some Catholic temples.



 



FINES AND COMMUNITY WORK



Furthermore, courts punish individuals who lead worship meetings in defiance of official bans.



According to news agency Forum18, of the six known cases in 2019, all of them from various Baptist denominations, two have been fined about one month's average wages each, one was given a 20-hour community work order and the other three were left with no punishment.



 



“WE CANNOT MEET SINCE MARCH”



The rebel Luhansk authorities argue that religious communities that have not undergone local registration are illegal, but Pastor Igor Bandura of the Ukrainian Baptist Union, told Forum 18 that their congregations applied for registration before the deadline, and were all rejected.



Since March, our communities cannot meet in their places of worship. Their churches haven't been confiscated, but they can't use them”, Bandura told Forum 18.



“Our churches lie empty. Church members meet in homes, but with no more than four people”, a Protestant with close ties to communities of another denomination in the region, added.



 



VISITING PASTORS BANNED



The authorities have also banned many elsewhere in Ukraine religious leaders from visiting their fellow believers, so that most communities cannot invite those they would like to invite for religious purposes, such as to lead worship meetings or conduct education.



Individuals can bring in only small quantities of religious literature.



“Our pastors are hungry for fellowship. They feel very isolated”, a Protestant from elsewhere in Ukraine who maintains contacts with local Protestant leaders, said.



 



UZBEKISTAN: RELIGIOUS FREEDOM RESTRICTED



Freedom of religion or belief, along with freedom of expression, association, and assembly, are seriously restricted in Uzbekistan.



All exercise of freedom of religion and belief with others without state permission is illegal, including sharing any beliefs with anyone, and meeting with others for worship or the study of sacred texts in homes.



Authorities raid with impunity those who take part in such meetings. Very often, they are threatened, detained, subjected to violent physical assault and torture, given large fines, and have religious literature, including Islamic texts and the Bible, confiscated and destroyed.



 



Urgench in Uzbekistan../ Ji-Elle/ Wikimedia Commons [CC BY-SA 4.0]



 



COMPLEX REGISTRATION PROCEDURE



In order to get a state permission that allow them to exist, churches must pass through a complex registration procedure, including having 100 adult Uzbek citizens willing both to be identified as founders and to supply their personal details to the authorities.



They must also pay a non-refundable fee equivalent to 50 times the minimum monthly wage; and submit two letters of guarantee, confirming that the organisation has a building with the health and fire safety requirements, and that other residents do not object to the organisation.



Even if communities are registered, they are subject to intrusive demands from the authorities.



 



BAPTISTS CHURCHES UNDER THREAT



Congregations of the Baptist Council of Churches meet for worship without seeking state permission, as is their right under international human rights law.



But Uzbekistan, against its international human rights obligations,bans any collective exercise of the freedom of religion and belief without state permission.



That is why last September, police from the “Struggle with Extremism and Terrorism Department” raided the home of Pastor Stanislav Kim in Urgench, while they were having their regular weekly worship meeting, Forum 18 reported.



Two days after the raid, officials summoned Pastor Kim to a meeting held by the local authorities,who accused him of “gathering citizens in his home to propagate the teachings of the Illegal Baptist Christian religion”.



One week after the initial raid, three Urgench police Criminal Investigation Department officers led by local police officer Inspector, again raided the Baptists' Sunday meeting, filmed all the participants, then gave Pastor Kim a warning letter.



Despite all this, Pastor Kim told Forum 18 on 15 October that “we keep on meeting for our worship without any hindrance. Since early October no one from the authorities has visited us. Seemingly, it has not affected our members or their attendance”.


 

 


0
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - Baptists fined in Eastern Ukraine, detained and beaten in Uzbekistan
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Jonathan Tame: Economy, looking back at the decade Jonathan Tame: Economy, looking back at the decade

The Director of the Jubilee Centre (Cambridge) analyses the impact of the financial crises on families, and the future of the workplace in a connected world, from a Christian perspective.

 
Jim Memory: Europe, looking back at the decade Jim Memory: Europe, looking back at the decade

Jim Memory analyses the main issues that have changed Europe in the 2010-2019 decade. How should Christians live in a continent that has lost its soul?

 
Julia Doxat-Purser: 25 years of EEA office in Brussels Julia Doxat-Purser: 25 years of EEA office in Brussels

An interview with the socio-political representative of the European Evangelical Alliance about how evangelical Christians work at the heart of the European Union.

 
Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation

Are Christians called to make a difference in environmental care? What has creation care to do with "loving our neighbours"? An interview with the Global Advocacy and Influencing Director of Tearfund.

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
Photos: European Week of Prayer Photos: European Week of Prayer

Christians joined the Evangelical Alliance Week of Prayer in dozens of European cities as local churches came together to worship God. 

 
Photos: Students at ‘Revive Europe’ Photos: Students at ‘Revive Europe’

Photos of the student conference that brought together 3,000 European Christians in Germany. ‘Revive our hearts, revive our universities, revive Europe’.

 
VIDEO Video
 
How should Christ's love inform your parenting of teenagers? How should Christ's love inform your parenting of teenagers?

Dave Patty shares about the notion of parenting children on God’s behalf.

 
What is a prayer meeting? What is a prayer meeting?

“Prayer is like a fire. One spark that someone prays should ignite a passion in someone else”. Mike Betts leads the network of churches Relational Mission.

 
Video: Highlights of ‘Revive Europe’ Video: Highlights of ‘Revive Europe’

A video summary of the student conference that gathered 3,000 in Karlsruhe, Germany. 6 days in 6 minutes.

 
 
Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube
 
 
WE RECOMMEND
 
PARTNERS
 

 
AEE
EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.
 

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.