WASHINGTON (ABP) — A Baptist pastor has been murdered in the Republic of Tajikistan, according to Baptist World Alliance officials. He is the 10th Baptist to be murdered in that country over a 10-year period.
Serghei Basarab, a pastor in Hujand in northern Tajikistan, was shot Jan. 12 by an Islamic fundamentalist as he knelt in his home for morning prayers, according to Wesley Brown, seminary professor and missionary for the American Baptist Churches U.S.A. in Prague, Czech Republic. Basarab's wife, who heard the shot, reportedly found him dead.
Basarab was pastor of one of six churches that make up the Baptist Union of Tajikistan, a member of the European Baptist Federation. Alexander Vervay, president of the Baptist Union, described Basarab as “a much loved leader” and requested that Baptists around the world pray for his family.
“The cost of discipleship and faithfulness in some contexts today may be martyrdom,” said Brown. Baptists and other Christians in neighboring Muslim-dominated countries like as Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan also suffer persecution, BWA said.
In 1993, nine members from one family that attended the Baptist church in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, were killed on New Year's Eve.