Pastor in Tajikistan charged with "inciting religious hatred" released

Friday, December 27, 2019

by Jordan Hilger, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - A Tajik Pastor imprisoned for over 2 years for possessing a Josh McDowell book was released recently, 3 months before the end of his sentence.

Bakhrom Kholmatov's Good News of Grace Protestant church in Kuhjand, Tajikistan was raided by secret police from the National Security Committee in April 2017, who found Josh McDowell's More Than A Carpenter and claimed it was "extremist and calling people to overthrow the government."

The Pastor was then charged in July 2017 with "singing extremist songs in church an so inciting religious hatred," and sentenced under Criminal Code Article 189, which forbids “Inciting national, racial, local or religious hatred or dissension, humiliation of national dignity, as well as propaganda of the superiority of citizens based on their religion."

Pastor Kholmatov thanked all those who had stood with him during his imprisonment for their "prayers...[which] helped us to stand strong through all these difficulties, to grow spiritually and to transform into the nature of our Heavenly Lord!"