Last week, the world reacted in horror as ISIS released a new video showing militants beheading a group of 21 men for being “people of the cross.” The latest gruesome display of religious persecution is part of a troubling trend of violence targeting Christians and other religious minorities. According to the group Open Door USA, the persecution has never been worse.
Kristin Wright is the director of advocacy at Open Doors USA, a group dedicated to helping Christians facing persecution around the world. We recently spoke with Wright about where Christian persecution is the worst, what Christians are facing and how people can help those suffering.
Has Open Doors seen an uptick in persecution against the Church?
We certainly have. Last year—2014—will go down in history as having the highest level of global persecution of Christians in the modern era. The worst thing, though, is conditions
Christians in the Middle East are being “deliberately attacked” in a campaign of persecution led by Islamist militants, Prince Charles said.
Prince Charles and Prince Ghazi bin Mohammad of Jordan (right) arrive for a visit to a Syriac Orthodox Church in London (Reuters) According to BBC News reports, Prince Charles said he felt deeply troubled by what he heard from victims yesterday.
Many minority religious organisations have fled the region in the turmoil following the Arab Spring, and in Egypt particularly violence against Coptic Christians saw a marked increase after Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi was overthrown.
Yesterday the Prince of Wales visited a number of British branches of churches based in the region, and heard from members whose families had suffered from religiously-motivated violence and murder.
Accompanied by Prince Ghazi of Jordan, he spoke to people at the Egyptian Coptic Church centre in Stevenage and the Syriac Orthodox cathedral in west London, before a reception at Clarence House with the Archbishops of Canterbury and Westminster and the Chief Rabbi.
“We cannot ignore the fact that Christians in the Middle East are, increasingly, being deliberately attacked by Read more…
ALGIERS, Jan 21, (Agen-cies): Thirty-seven foreigners of eight different nationalities, as well as an Algerian, were killed by hostage-takers in a well-planned attack on a remote gas plant, some of them brutally executed.
Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal said five other foreigners were still missing and that some of the hostages had been executed “with a bullet to the head” as the four-day crisis ended in a bloodbath on Saturday.
Most of the 32 militants who took hundreds of people hostage at the In Amenas gas complex in the Sahara on Wednesday had entered the country from neighbouring Mali, Sellal told a news conference in Algiers.
The premier gave the final grim figures after Algeria had warned other nations to prepare for a higher body count, amid fears as many as 50 captives may have died in the world’s deadliest hostage crisis in almost a decade.
“Thirty-seven foreigners of Read more…
Persecution of Christians is rising in at least eight African countries, according to the latest Open Doors USA list of the world’s worst violators of religious freedom.
“Africa, where Christianity spread fastest during the past century, now is the region where oppression of Christians is spreading fastest,” the group noted.
On the 2013 World Watch List (analysis and Top 10 country summaries at bottom), which ranks the 50 countries where Christians face the most religious persecution, Mali has skyrocketed from being unranked to No. 7 this year, joining Somalia (No. 5) and Eritrea (No. 10) among the top 10.
“Mali used to be a model country. … Christians and even missionaries could be active,” said Jerry Dykstra, spokesman for Open Doors. “[But] currently the situation in northern Mali is Read more…
While we in Australia are looking forward to celebrating Christmas and the holidays, we should spare a thought for the Christians who are suffering persecution in so many countries. Even in democracies such as the US and Canada, Christians can be fined or lose their jobs for imaginary “hate” crimes, i.e. speaking about the health risks of some homosexual practices or declining to provide services for homosexual “marriages”.
It is persecution in developing countries that is most distressing to me because Christians there rarely have the financial resources to seek legal redress. Below some news items from the weekly email I receive from Christians in Crisis:
Iran: Two of the seven members of the Church of Iran arrested in Shiraz have been temporarily released on bail.
Indonesia: Church building set ablaze – Unidentified attackers torched a church building in Poso in a series of renewed violence against the local Christian community.
Egypt: A call to pray for an end to the abduction, forced conversion and forced marriage of Coptic girls by Islamist Salafis.
Kasakhstan continues its attempt to make exercising the freedom of Read more…
Christianity, which started in a Bethlehem stable, has been an integral part of the Middle East for 2,000 years. At its best it has contributed greatly, along with Islam and Judaism, to the culture and life of the region; at its worst it has been a source of conflict.
Today, the destiny of the region’s Christian communities is umbilically linked to the future of the countries in which they live – and to the ideologies competing for power. Ahead of Pope Benedict’s visit to Lebanon this week, it is timely to look at the circumstances of Christian communities in the region.
The cruellest paradox is that Christian minorities – and others – are criticised for not embracing the ideologies and acts of those who seek to annihilate them.
The situation has varied from country to country, but Read more…
Persecution is something that many people have claimed recently, yet in Mali, West Africa, Christian persecution has reached desperate levels. According to ASSIST News Service, one Christian leader has been beheaded and others are being threatened with similar treatment as Islamic militants run amok in Mali, West Africa. Christians have subsequently fled the town of Timbuktu in the north of the country where harsh Sharia Law has already been imposed. There have also been reports of churches in Gao, 200 miles to the east, have been completely destroyed. This news comes after a military coup in the country, which has cut off electricity supplies.
Local Christian Timothee (Tim) Yattara, who recently returned to his home country to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ has fled with his family to Bamako, the country’s main city roughly 400 miles south west with no money to support his family.
“We have escaped in the Read more…