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Kazakhstan: pastors appeal to president over church land

October 2020

Two pastors in Kazakhstan have appealed directly to the country’s president asking him to stop local authorities seizing the land on which their churches stand.

City authorities in the capital Nur-Sultan (formerly Astana) have ordered the confiscation of the Grace Presbyterian Church building and the Agape Pentecostal Church building, which was under construction on the same site as Grace Church.

According to the pastors, city authorities in the Muslim-majority country claim the land is needed for a new kindergarten.

The two churches are appealing the seizure and have called on the President to intervene, in an open letter published widely.

The open letter has called on President Kassym-Jomart Kemelevich Tokayev to uphold the country’s secular constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion.

The letter explained how the church had saved for 18 years to fund the building work and received permission to start construction from the Department of State Architectural and Construction Control in January 2020.

Dmitry Kan, pastor of Grace Church, said, ‘We simply want to continue to use our property for worship.’