Tajikistan

World Watch ranking: 46
Map thumbnail
Leader
President Emomali Rahmon

How many Christians?
63,100 (0.6%)

Main threat
  • Dictatorial paranoia

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How many Christians are there in Tajikistan?

Only a very small percentage of Tajikistan’s population of 10.2 million are Christians: 63,100 people, or 0.6%. Almost everyone else in the country is Muslim.

How are Christians persecuted in Tajikistan?

No religious activities beyond state-run and controlled institutions are allowed in Tajikistan.

Historical Christian communities such as the Russian Orthodox Church, which makes up the majority of Christians in the country, are largely tolerated by the regime, which doesn't them as a threat as they tend not to reach out to Tajiks. However, registering non-Orthodox or non-Catholic Christian groups is effectively impossible, making all religious activities carried out by these groups technically illegal. In 2022, the government announced that no new churches could be registered.

The authorities target church leaders in order to impact the wider church and cause levels of fear to rise within the congregation. The police may disrupt church meetings and impose fines on church leaders for holding ‘illegal’ gatherings, owning Christian material without a permit or sharing their faith with others. When detained by the police, they can encounter verbal and physical abuse, threats, beatings and pressure to inform on others. 

Church services are often disrupted and Christians risk harassment and arrest for holding private prayer meetings or possessing ‘illegal’ religious material. Children are prohibited from participating in public religious activities. 

Meet a Tajik church leader

“The good news is that, despite all the prohibitions, the church in Tajikistan is growing in numbers and, God willing, will continue to grow.” A Tajik church leader

What’s life like for Christians in Tajikistan?

Christians throughout Tajikistan face hostility from the authorities. In rural regions, Christians face heightened levels of pressure from their families and local communities, based on the belief that a true Tajik can only be Muslim. 

Within Tajikistan's traditional Islamic culture, female converts from Islam are particularly vulnerable to discrimination and violent persecution. If their conversion is discovered, they run the risk of being put under house arrest, beaten, rejected, sexually assaulted, or forced to marry a Muslim. In one city, a woman’s husband forbade her and her son from attending church, instead locking them up.

How can I help Christians in the region?

Please keep praying for your brothers and sisters in Tajikistan. 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, biblical and vocational training, medical and social care, socio-economic development projects, and children's, youth and women's ministries. 

please pray

Lord God, we praise You for the wonderful things You’re doing in and through Your people in Tajikistan. Refresh the spirits of weary and discouraged believers, and heal all those feeling the pain of rejection or abuse. Meet the needs of Christians who’ve lost their jobs or been fined for their faith, and protect the families of leaders who are facing the pressures of serving churches in a climate of persecution. Help Your children to keep their eyes fixed on You, and may joy fill the homes of believers and the places where they gather. Soften the hearts of local community leaders towards Your church, and may this influence the way that others treat Christians. Amen.

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