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Kyrgyz Christian convert mum beaten by Muslim family

Central Asia

Kyrgyz Christian convert mum beaten by Muslim family

Sooronbay Sharipovich Jeenbekov, President of Sooronbay Sharipovich Jeenbekov. Photo credit: Official Portrait

A Christian woman in Kyrgyzstan, who recently converted from Islam, was held captive in her own home and beaten by her Muslim family last week for refusing to renounce her faith in Christ, according to Barnabas Fund contacts

Gulum, who has a two-year-old son, was held in home for two days by her family in Tokmok before being taken to the mosque in Bishkek, 60km away, where she was held and questioned intensively about her faith by clerics.

Gulum remained strong in her faith and said to her interrogators: “Are you against that I believe in God? … Do mother and husband have right to beat me?” This challenged her captors who then allowed her to return home.

Her husband and family remain very hostile to her Christian faith. Gulum is also under pressure from local clerics to return to Islam and fears possible arrest.

A local pastor and her sister, also a Christian who has experienced persecution, have requested prayer support for Gulum at this time.

The population of Kyrgyzstan is 86 per cent Muslim and follows Sunni Islam. While Kyrgyzstan has remained a secular state since the fall of Communism, there has been a strong revival of Islamic practices since the country gained independence. Hanafi sharia influences on the planned tightening of Religious Law could lead to women like Gulum being imprisoned for apostasy from Islam and “beaten with severity” daily until they renounce their Christian faith. Adult male converts from Islam are punishable by death according to sharia law.

Christians in Kyrgyzstan face dramatic reduction in their freedoms as Islamic influence increases. There have been proposals to tighten the already restrictive 2009 Religion Law, which effectively outlaws unregistered Christians gathering together for prayer of worship.