Leader: President Ilham Aliyev
Main Religion: Islam
Percentage of Christians: 1.3%
Persecution Ranking: 38
This oil-rich, middle-eastern country is sandwiched between Iran and Russia. It comprises a majority Turkic and Shia Muslim population. It enjoyed a very brief period of independence after the fall of the Russian Empire in 1918. Soon it became a part of the Soviet Union until it gained independence in 1991.
Between the years 2006 to 2010, while most of the world was keeling over on account of the woeful economic climate, Azerbaijan enjoyed immense economic growth. This success was largely on account of the growing oil and gas exports.
Not unlike other emerging markets that experienced this sudden economic boom, Azerbaijan experiences corruption. According to Transparency International's 2010 Corruption Perception Index, Azerbaijan ranks 134 out of 178 countries.
Even though Azerbaijan is officially a secular state, the government views any form of religion negatively. Christian Believers find it increasingly difficult to practice their faith in this hostile environment of radical secularism.
Pray that God will bring to an end all graft and corruption (The Bible, Roman 8:21).
Pray that God will raise up workers to share the Gospel in Azerbaijan (The Bible, Isaiah 52:7).
According to Open Doors, many Churches have been waiting for years for the approval of their registration. Pray that the government will approve their registration (The Bible, Psalm 5:12).
This article originally appeared in the J July 2013 Edition of the Win 10/40 Reporter.
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