OVERVIEW: Kyrgyzstan is a remote mountainous nation with a nomadic tribal culture. It is also one of the poorest former Soviet states in Central Asia. A significant portion of the population has left to work elsewhere, and life in Kyrgyzstan is filled with hardship. After decades of Communist rule, most Kyrgyz have returned to their nation’s pre-Communist Islamic cultural identity.
MAJOR RELIGIONS: 93 percent of Kyrgyz are Sunni Muslims. 4 percent are Christians, including less than 1 percent evangelicals.
PERSECUTOR: Christians are persecuted mostly by family members and neighbors, including Muslim religious leaders.
WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A CHRISTIAN IN KYRGYZSTAN: Some churches worship openly, even in small towns, but being a Christian is difficult because of the Islamic culture. Beatings aren’t uncommon, and the small Christian minority is generally oppressed by society. For example, buses won’t stop for those known as Christians in small communities, and they have difficulty getting jobs and even purchasing goods. In some communities, Muslim leaders have denied the burial of deceased Christians.
ACCESS TO BIBLES: Bibles are more accessible in Kyrgyzstan than in other Central Asian nations. They can be purchased at registered churches in larger cities, but they are expensive.
VOM WORK: VOM provides medical care to Christians injured in attacks and helps believers become self-supporting.