A Baptist community in eastern Kyrgyzstan fears for its safety after unknown attackers set its church building on fire.
The damage to the church has forced its 40 Kyrgyz and Russian members to start searching for a new place of worship, while wondering if there will be a further attack.
The church was in Kajisay, a small town in the Issyk-Kul region that borders China.
When local radio and TV stations broadcast news of the arson attack it caused a “great public outcry”, sources told World Watch Monitor.
An investigating police officer said the attack was “organised by those who don’t like your church and Christianity in the midst of a Muslim country”.
“We don’t believe that the police will find and punish those who burned our church,” one of its members said.
Instead of pursuing the arsonists, local Christians said police have asked questions about who funded the church building, how many Kyrgyz are members, and why, as ethnic Muslims, they do not go to the local mosque.
World Watch Monitor reported an attack on a Christian community in August last year when, according to local sources, Islamic radicals sprayed “We will kill you” across the church’s walls. The source added at the time that “police and the authorities will stay away from this case because they do not want to help Christians”, who make up only six per cent of the population.