Published on April 5th, 2004
In area, Uzbekistan is a little larger than California.
At 6 a.m. U.S. Central Standard Time, it is 5 p.m. in Uzbekistan.
Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country. A country is landlocked if it is not next to a sea or ocean. Doubly landlocked countries are landlocked countries surrounded by other landlocked countries. (The Caspian and Aral Seas in the region are actually big lakes.)
Alexander the Great conquered the land of Uzbekistan in one of the greatest conquests of history. In recent times, the Soviet Union (U.S.S.R.) ruled Uzbekistan. The Soviet Union broke up in the early 1990s, forming 15 different countries. Uzbekistan was one of those countries.
The Soviet Union was a communist country. The communists taught that God does not exist. They made strict rules against religious activities. After the Soviet Union fell apart, many people returned to Islam, the religion they followed before communism came.
Most of the people in Uzbekistan are Muslims, and they believe “to be Uzbek is to be Muslim.”
The government fears Muslim terrorists, and they are suspicious of anyone who takes their faith seriously. It is against the law for a Christian to lead an Uzbek person to Christ.
The government says that Christian groups must register in order to be legal. But officials make it very difficult for new groups to register. Many Christians meet in secret. If they are caught, the consequences can be serious. Christians have been jailed and kicked out of the country.