Not registering a church in Tajikistan is, according to a local Christian, "a hidden ban on sharing our faith and an attempt to limit the increase of Christian believers".
“We will no longer register new churches. We will keep the number of registered churches unchanged from now on”. These are the words of Sulaymon Davlatzoda, Tajikistan's top religious affairs official, announced to Protestant leaders at the end of May and recently echoed by the Forum 18.
The leaders clarified, Davlatzoda "also openly warned us that those under the age of 18 cannot have freedom of religion or belief and participate in church activities, and no religious camp is allowed for them".
"We are sad that we are not allowed to open new churches and forbidden to share our faith", testified a Christian who sees in this announcement "a hidden prohibition to share our faith and an attempt to limit the increase of Christian believers ".
According to Forum 18 sources, there are between 15 and 20 unregistered Protestant groups in Tajikistan. "We meet for worship without registration, but we are afraid that the authorities could punish us at any time," said a member of one of them.