Over the past ten years, most churches in Tajikistan have had their registration revoked, and they now must meet in secrecy. Because it's the poorest former Soviet republic, many pastors and church leaders are leaving the country to work in Russia so they can support their families. The majority of the population is younger than 30 years of age, and the country lacks basic infrastructure. General corruption and the opium trade compound its difficulties.
Life for Christians
New Christian converts receive the harshest treatment. Believers are beaten and abused, and women are especially targeted for abuse by their fathers and older brothers. Christians are often summoned to appear at the local secret police station. Even though churches meet openly, informants attend every service. Adding to the challenges facing the church, it's illegal to teach children in this country about any religion. In 2017, Pastor Bakhrom Holmatov was arrested for merely possessing a copy of Josh McDowell's book, More Than a Carpenter, because governing authorities considered it "extremist literature."