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Afghanistan

Afghanistan

Afghanistan

RESTRICTED

Capital
Kabul

Size
A little smaller than Texas.

Main Languages
Dari, Pashtu

Time
At 6:00 a.m. U.S. Central Standard Time, it is 4:30 p.m. in Afghanistan.

Interesting Fact
Afghanistan is a land where Christians do not meet in church buildings. Instead they meet secretly in small house churches. 

History
After terrorists bombed buildings in the U.S. in 2001, the U.S. led a “war on terrorism.” As part of that fight, the U.S. got rid of the radical Muslim “Taliban” government of Afghanistan and helped the country set up a different government. This brought new hope, but Afghanistan still does not have freedom of religion. The Taliban still tries to force their radical form of Islam on others.

Religion
More than 95 percent of the people in Afghanistan are Muslims. Radical Muslim Taliban soldiers ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001. Under Taliban rule, music, television, games, and videos were against the law. Afghanistan is still a very Muslim nation, with about 48,000 mosques. (A mosque is a Muslim place of worship.) Some Afghans learn about Jesus through radio programs that are broadcast from other countries.

Persecution
If someone in Afghanistan says they are a follower of Jesus, they risk serious persecution. Even family members and neighbors may attack them.

Radical Muslims do not want missionaries and Christian workers who share their faith with Muslims to come to Afghanistan. They have kidnapped Christians who came to Afghanistan to help people.


Algeria

Algeria

Algeria

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Capital
Algiers

Size
Slightly less than 3.5 times the size of Texas.

Main Languages
Arabic, French, Berber

Time
At 6:00 a.m. U.S. Central Standard Time, it is 12:00 p.m. in Algeria.

History
France used to rule Algeria. In 1962, Algeria became an independent country. Since then, Algerian people have suffered from frequent violence and wars.Religion
Algerians are predominantly Muslim.

Persecution
Islam is the official religion of Algeria. However, many people in Algeria are becoming Christians! But the government places limits on Christian activities. Anyone who writes materials, or makes tapes or DVDs that “shake the faith of Muslims” can go to jail. Matthew 7:24–25 and Hebrews 12:28 tell us that Jesus offers a faith that will keep us from being shaken.


Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan

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Capital
Baku

Size
Azerbaijan is about the same size as the U.S. state of South Carolina.

Main Languages
Azeri, Russian

Time

At 6:00 a.m. U.S. Central Standard Time, it is 4:00 a.m. in Baku.

History
The U.S.S.R. (often called “The Soviet Union”) was the largest communist country in the world. In the early 1990s, it broke up into many smaller countries. Azerbaijan was one of those countries. Today most of the people are Muslims.

Religion
More than 80% of the people in Azerbaijan say they are Muslim. But many do not take their faith seriously. Fewer than 10% are Christian.

Zoroastrianism was a main religion in Azerbaijan before the Muslims came. Today the people still honor traditions from Zoroastrianism. (See “Their Beliefs” for more information.)

Persecution
Even though many people in Azerbaijan are not serious about their Muslim faith, many do not like it when a Muslim becomes a Christian. They think Islam is part of their culture. Friends and relatives discourage Muslims from following Christ. Officials sometimes give churches and Christians a hard time.

It is often difficult for young adult Christians to find someone to marry who also follows Christ. Since marriage is an important part of their culture, they are often urged to marry a Muslim.


Bangladesh

Bangladesh

Bangladesh

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Capital
Dhaka

Size
In area, Bangladesh is a little larger than the state of Iowa. But Bangladesh is very crowded. It has a larger population than the eight most populous U.S. states combined: California, New York, Texas, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan.

A Christian worker in Bangladesh said, “That would be like squeezing half of everyone in the U.S. into the state of Iowa.”

Main Languages
Bangla (also known as Bengali)

Time
At 6:00 a.m. U.S. Central Standard Time, it is 6:00 p.m. in Bangladesh.

Fact
A study showed that Bangladesh has the highest rate of marriage in the world for girls under age 15.
History
Bangladesh was part of India until 1947. Then it became East Pakistan. Bangladesh became an independent country in 1971. Natural disasters are common in Bangladesh.

Religion
Bangladesh has the fourth largest Muslim population in the world. Less than one percent of the population is Christian.

Persecution
Islam is the official religion of Bangladesh. It is not against the law for Christians to worship, but they face serious persecution, especially if they are Christians who used to be Muslims. Muslims do not want people leaving Islam to follow Christ.

Muslim mobs often cause Christians trouble. They have threatened Christians, attacked them, torn down their houses, and destroyed rickshaws that some Christians use to make a living.


Brunei

Brunei

Brunei

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Capital
Bandar Seri Begawan

Size
Slightly smaller than Delaware.

Main Languages
Malay, English, Chinese

Time
At 6:00 a.m. U.S. Central Standard Time, it is 7:00 p.m. in Brunei.

History
Brunei used to be ruled by Britain, but it became independent in 1984.

Religion
Mostly Muslim.

Persecution
The official religion of Brunei is Islam, the religion of Muslims. Christians are not allowed to spread their faith. School books show women and girls wearing Muslim clothing, and do not show people who follow religions other then Islam. Muslims are not permitted to marry people who are not Muslims. Christian believers often meet secretly for worship.