Christianity in modern Tajikistan is closely connected to the missionary movement of the Church of the East in the Central Asian landmass. The historical patterns of the ROC aimed to cover only European and Russian nationals with Russian language only. This has led to Christianity being dubbed a ‘Russian religion’. The Roman Catholic Church was in Central Asia since the thirteenth century. The first wave of Protestants came through the Mennonites (Brethren), along with Evangelicals and Baptists (who both eventually merged in 1941 into the Evangelical Baptists), and the second wave came through various Protestant mission organizations after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Protestant churches in the country comprise both local converts from Islam and those of Russian Orthodox background. Although non-Tajik Christians are culturally acceptable, local converts are regarded as traitors. Many such restrictions apply equally to all religions. State restraint toward religious minorities are due to inherited Soviet tradition and fear of the extremist ideology that was a cause of the recent civil war. Current persecution in the country is largely a matter of social discrimination rather than state control. Nonetheless, the existing communities, particularly those with valid registrations, are thriving, albeit on a small scale.
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