By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent
In Uzbekistan, having more than one Bible can make you a missionary, and being a missionary in Uzbekistan can get you five years in jail.
Uzbeks no longer have freedom of religion, or even speech; not only is just one Bible per household mandated by law, it must also be written in Russian, a language only 20 percent of Uzbeks understand.
Located in Central Asia, Uzbekistan was formerly the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1992, Uzbekistan became a secular state after passing its first post-Soviet constitution, but that state still kept many of the centralized controls characteristic of its former Soviet Republic.
Although the Uzbek constitution guarantees a multiparty system, the republic’s president, Islam Karimov, is an authoritarian leader who rules an intolerant state where the predominant religion, not surprisingly, is Islam; most Uzbeks are Sunni Muslims, while Russian and Ukrainian minorities are traditionally Orthodox Christians.
Within Uzbekistan's non-Muslim minority, the Uzbekistan Christian Fellowship has about 500 small congregations, but to even be considered an official church, they must have at least 200 members per congregation.
UFC ministers are only allowed to preach inside their church, but are forbidden to preach in the Uzbek language.