A Christian woman in Kyrgyzstan, who recently converted from Islam, was held captive in her home and beaten by her Muslim family last week for refusing to renounce her faith in Christ.
“Gulum”, who has a two-year-old son, was held in her home for two days by her family in Tokmok before being taken to the mosque in the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, 60km away, where she was held and questioned intensively by Islamic clerics in front of her young son.
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 many other relatives 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 convert from Islam who has experienced persecution, have contacted Barnabas Fund to request prayer support for Gulum at this time.
The population of Kyrgyzstan is 86% 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.
According to the Hanafi school of sharia, which is the predominant type of Islam in Kyrgyzstan, adult female apostates from Islam should be imprisoned. A main Hanafi textbook also mentions the teaching that they should be “beaten with severity” daily until they renounce their Christian faith. Adult male converts from Islam are punishable by death according to every school of sharia law.
Christians in Kyrgyzstan have faced dramatic reductions in their freedoms in recent years. There are also proposals to tighten the already restrictive 2009 Religion Law, which effectively outlaws unregistered Christians gathering together for prayer or worship.
From Barnabas Fund contacts