8,873,669 (Jul 2020)
Tajikistan has been conquered by a series of foreign powers. Arab invaders introduced Islam in the 8th century, and Central Asia was later controlled by the Persian Samanid Dynasty, the Mongol Empire under Genghis Khan, and the Turkic ruler Tamerlane. In the late 1800s, northern Tajikistan became part of Tsarist Russia, and the entire territory came under Soviet control in the 1920s.
Tajikistan remained part of the Soviet Union until independence in 1991. The following year, anti-government protests by Islamist and pro-democracy rebels erupted into several years of civil war. Since then, elections have been marred by accusations of corruption. The leading opposition party was banned in 2015 and long-standing President Emomali Rahmon is now able to rule for life.
Tajikistan is a republic, with President Rahmon serving in office since 1994. An election is still held every seven years but since President Rahmon assumed the title of "Leader of the Nation," he was given the ability to serve for as long as he wished. His eldest son Rustam Emomali is old enough to run for president (he and Rahmon's other son are both senior officials in his administration).
Tajikistan is a poor nation with the economy focused on minerals, metals, and agriculture, with a great portion of the income coming from remittances from citizens working outside the country (more than 1 million citizens work abroad). Imports account for 70% of their food due to having a very low percent of arable land – less than 7%. Poverty is high – 31.5% of the population live below the poverty level. 
Recent years have seen mounting criticism of Tajikistan’s human rights record. There is an ongoing government crackdown on freedom of expression, with access to certain websites blocked and the press restricted. Domestic violence against women is also a major problem, and organizations cite inadequate protection for victims.
Ethnic Tajiks who convert from Islam may face pressure from family members to return to their traditional religion.
Freedom House categorizes Tajikistan as “not free,” most recently scoring a 9 out of 100. Internet is highly restricted with authorities regularly blocking websites and social media platforms.  Satellite television is virtually uncensorable and is widely used by citizens. SAT-7 PARS broadcasts into Tajikistan, offering both Farsi and Tajik programs.
The population of isolated Tajikistan is more than 90 percent Muslim. Most Muslims are Sunni, but the country is also home to Shia Muslims and other groups including Bahai’s, Jews, and around 150,000 Christians. The largest Christian denomination is Russian Orthodox, with Catholics and Protestant groups also present.
Religious freedom in Tajikistan has declined sharply since a restrictive religion law was passed in 2009. The government prosecutes groups outside its control, particularly Muslims, Protestants, and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Some Protestant groups face potential legal action for any of their activities because they have been repeatedly denied official registration. Religious literature is also restricted, and children under the age of 18 are forbidden to take part in any religious activities.
- Pray that God will protect and strengthen Christians in Tajikistan, who face heavy restrictions on their activities.
- Ask that the country’s citizens will gain greater rights and freedoms as well as fair political representation.
- Pray for safety, healing, and justice for victims of domestic violence.
 CIA World Factbook
 Freedom House
 Pew Research Center