Three Christians in Kazakhstan have been fined for meeting to pray and worship together, as the new law that allows the officers to impose fines for religious practices to curb other faiths in the country.
Christian Religious freedom in Kazakhstan has been increasingly coming under severe attack. In 2012, the Kazakhstan government reduced the number of officially-recognised faiths from nearly 50 to only 17. There are consequences for practising a faith which is not approved and recognised by the government.
In 2015, the government gave police the authority to impose fines without actually going through due process and holding a trial on those who practice an unauthorised religion in the country.
“Such summary police fines haven’t been used against Christians before,” said one Christian who added that, in one instance, the police simply fined a Christian because they could. “No one explained to us why they’ve suddenly started doing this.” This is purely done to instill fear in the hearts from doing any public gatherings and worship events.
Although the fine of one of the three individuals was waived thereafter, concern over religious freedom in Kazakhstan remains high, as reported by Christian Headlines.
In addition to restricting religious freedom, Kazakhstan has seen an increase in Islamic extremist violence. Recently, a gunman killed three policemen and a civilian in the country. Kazakhstan president Nursultan Nazarbayev called the shooting an act of terrorism.
We urge Christian Brothers across the world, to remember the Christians in Kazakhstan in their prayers during these tough times.