Kazakhstan

World Watch ranking: 47
Map thumbnail
Leader
President Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev

How many Christians?
4.9 million (25%)

Main threat
  • Dictatorial paranoia

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How many Christians are there in Kazakhstan?

There are 4.9 million Christians in Kazakhstan – just a quarter of the country’s 19.4 million people. The majority of citizens are Muslim.

How are Christians persecuted in Kazakhstan?

Religious freedom in the country has been under constant threat since legislation was introduced in 2011 that gave the government significant control over religion. For Christians, this means increased surveillance, raids on meetings, arrests and imprisonment. Any church outside of the Russian Orthodox Church – which is mostly tolerated, as long as it doesn't try to share the gospel with Muslims – is in constant danger of intense monitoring and crackdowns from the state authorities.

In some parts of the country, certain Christian businesses are expected to pay bribes to stay open. This extortion drives some business owners to keep their faith a secret. Some believers also lose their jobs, particularly if they are church leaders. 

What’s life like for Christians in Kazakhstan?

The Kazakh authorities keeps a close eye on Christian communities, and Christian men have been interrogated, fined, detained and imprisoned. When a church is raided, church leaders face the harshest treatment, held responsible for their congregation – particularly if it includes any converts from Islam. 

Christian men can be targeted by their families and communities, particularly converts. They can face verbal harassment, beatings and be rejected by their families. Converts and church leaders are also more likely to lose their jobs.

Because of the Islamic culture, converts from Islam can face the most pressure, particularly from family and community. Women who convert from Islam can face physical and verbal abuse, harassment, threats, sexual violence and house arrest. Unmarried converts can face the prospect of forced marriage, and a married woman can face immense pressure from her husband and children. 

How can I help Christians in the region?

Please keep praying for your brothers and sisters in Kazakhstan. Your prayers make an enormous difference to those following Jesus no matter the cost.

Open Doors strengthens persecuted Christians in Central Asia by providing Bibles and Christian literature, discipleship, vocational training, medical and social care, socio-economic development projects, and children's, youth and women's ministries. 

please pray

God, we pray with our brothers and sisters in Kazakhstan as they follow You. We pray for the church leaders who risk arrest every time their church meets. We pray for converts from Islam who have been kicked out of their homes and have lost so much to receive Your provision and Fatherly closeness. We also pray for those who are interrogated, beaten and imprisoned. We know that Your heart burns with compassion for Your people. Please help them! In Jesus’ name and for His sake, Amen.

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