Feb. 1, 07. Open Doors reported that authorities in the former
Soviet republic of Azerbaijan have launched a crackdown on a Christian
movement of ex-Muslims that has grown from 40 to 18,000 members since 1991
when the nation first gained independence.
“Even if you just show a little bit of interest in Christianity the
government and your family will take action,” said Jeno Sebok, spokesman of
the Netherlands-based Open Doors group which investigated the situation.
Authorities have begun to put known Christians under police
surveillance or harass them. Several new believers have been arrested or
dismissed from jobs under pressure from the government and state-controlled
In addition, it is nearly impossible for churches to gain “official
registration” while registered churches face frequent government raids. It’s
also difficult to obtain permission to distribute Bibles and other Christian
literature. Azerbaijan is a small nation sandwiched between Russia and Iran
with about 8 million people.