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Hamid Shabanov - Photo: World Watch Monitor www.worldwatchmonitor.org
Pastor Hamid Shabanov
Photo: World Watch Monitor

The Baptist community in the village of Aliabad understands what it means to wait patiently. For 25 years, these believers have sought legal status but were repeatedly ignored or denied. Police have regularly raided their church meetings and seized religious literature. Despite the opposition, the church continued to gather for teaching and worship while attempting to get official status.

In late January, Pastor Hamid Shabanov received a letter from the State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations. While official status has not been granted at this point, the committee stated that they had "no objection" to the church community meeting for two hours each Saturday morning. The pastor expressed praise to God for this decision which is now allowing them to legally gather together, hopefully without any further opposition. To learn more about persecution in Azerbaijan, see our country report.

Join with Pastor Hamid and his congregation in praising God for this long-awaited decision. While the decision was quickly followed by restrictions related to COVID-19, pray that these believers will be able to meet together in peace and without any further governmental opposition as soon as the global health concern subsides. In the meantime, may the situation give them increased opportunities to safely assist others of their village, so that more people in Azerbaijan will experience Christ's compassion and place their faith in Him.

Country Information

Designation
Persecuted

Population
10,205,810 (July 2020 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Azerbaijani (91.6), Lezghin (2), Russian (1.3), Armenian (1.3), Talysh (1.3), other (2.4)

Religions (%)
Islam (96.9), Christianity (3), other (0.1)

Leader
President Ilham Aliyev (2003)

Government type
Presidential republic

Legal system
Civil law system

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for Azerbaijan

Pray for peace within the hearts of the Azerbaijani people who are living amid political instability. May the country's governmental authorities be willing to grant Christians their fundamental freedoms, enabling them to worship freely and share their faith openly with others of their communities.

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