A young Kyrgyz girl is forced to work in a sewing workshop after being tortured by her parents in Kyrgyzstan because she converted to Christianity, well-informed investigators said Tuesday, December 18.
The troubles began when the girl “accepted Jesus [Christ]” as her Lord and Savior “during a church meeting” despite opposition towards Christians in this heavily Islamic nation, explained aid and advocacy group Open Doors.
“When her parents found out about her decision, they were very upset and took her home to their village” where she was soon mistreated, the said in a statement.
“They wanted her to recant and renounce her faith in Christ, so they began to beat her systematically till she lost consciousness.” Yet the girl, who was wrongly identified as “Almas” amid security concerns, “did not give in”, added Open Doors.
“It was winter when all of this happened, so her parents put her into a cold room and kept her there for several days. Still they were unable to break her spirit,” said Open Doors, which is in close contact with local believers.
“They then started pulling her hair and put her face against the stove, burning her face. In spite of this, she remained faithful,” the group claimed.
Her parents reportedly also burned all her Christian literature and decided to closely watch their daughter. “They put her to work in a sewing workshop, where she is forced to work from early in the morning till late in the evening.”
Sewing sweatshops are believed to be widespread in the country where many struggle with crippling poverty. “It has become virtually impossible for Almas to have any contact with her Christian friends,” Open Doors said.
The findings come amid reported growing pressure on minority devoted Christians in this country of some 5.5 million people, where roughly 75 percent is Muslim.
In a surprise move, President Almazbek Atambayev reportedly signed new censorship amendments to Kyrgyzstan’s Religion Law on December 7.
Right group Forum 18 has warned that new legislation will effectively “increase state control over religious literature and other materials”, potentially impacting the printing and distribution of Bibles and other Christian publications.
The State Commission for Religious Affairs (SCRA) has denied suggestions that the law violates religious rights in the Central Asian country.
Open Doors said it had urged its supporters to pray for girl Almas and other “brave believers in Kyrgyzstan who continue to remain faithful, despite the persecution that they face.”
Kyrgyzstan ranks 48 on Open Doors annual World Watch List of 50 nations where it claims Christians suffer most for their faith in Christ.