Tag: intolerance

Christians Among Most Persecuted People in the World, Watchdog Groups Warn

As the world marks the U.N.’s International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of Genocide, persecution watchdog groups are warning that Christians continue to be some of the most widely targeted people.

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People hold crosses and signs during a rally organized by Iraqi Christians living in Germany denouncing what they say is repression by the Islamic State militant group against Christians living in Iraq, in Berlin, Aug. 17, 2014.

“Ahead of Genocide Prevention Day on Dec. 9, Christian Solidarity Worldwide is calling for the perpetrators of crimes against humanity in North Korea and Eritrea to be held to account,” CSW said in a short statement. Last year, the day was officially designated to raise awareness for the 1948 Genocide Convention, which seeks to prevent and punish genocide.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said that “Member states and the international community must honour the suffering of the victims of genocide, and of their families, by working even harder against expressions of hatred, intolerance, racism and xenophobia.”

As CSW notes, North Korea has been one of the worst and one of the most secretive persecutors of Christians and other people, with prison camps across the country holding thousands of political prisoners.

Open Doors USA is another watchdog group that has reported on the murder, torture, rape, and other atrocities that everyone deemed a threat to Kim Jong Un’s regime faces, with untold numbers of Christians being punished for things like reading or possessing a Bible.

“There were over 70,000 Christians that were imprisoned for their faith this year. You have executions — we don’t know how many, but we know of enough. There has been no let up in persecution in North Korea,” Open Doors CEO David Curry told The Christian Post back in January.
Top 7 Nations With Worst Record of Christian Persecution: Report
Christians in the Middle East, especially those in Iraq and Syria, have been facing genocide at the hands of the Islamic State and other terror groups, suffering beheadings, enslavement, forced conversions into Islam, and being driven out of their ancestral communities.

Ronald S. Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, warned at an interfaith panel in New York last week that this massacre, along with people’s indifference toward it, is reminiscent of other major genocides in the past that still haunt the world today.

“Today we are witnessing the world’s indifference to the slaughter of Christians in the Middle East and Africa,” Lauder said at the panel, according to Catholic News Service.

“Since 1945, genocide has occurred again and again. ‘Never Again!’ has become hollow. You can’t just declare genocide and say the job is done. You have to back it up with action.

“Jews know what happens when the world is silent to mass slaughter. We learned it the hard way,” he added, referring to the genocide of Jews and other minorities during World War II.

The conflict in South Sudan is another ongoing crisis affecting many Christians, Vox noted.

When the country achieved independence from the Muslim-majority Republic of the Sudan, it was hailed as a victory by a number of Christian groups in the United States, but ethnic divisions have since been ripping the new country apart.

“There is already a steady process of ethnic cleansing underway in several areas of South Sudan using starvation, gang rape and the burning of villages; everywhere we went across this country we heard villagers saying they are ready to shed blood to get their land back,” said Yasmin Sooka, chairperson of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan, after a 10-day visit this year.

“Many told us it’s already reached a point of no return,” she added.

Source: The Christian Post



INDIA – Intolerance and violence against Pentecostal Christians

(Agenzia Fides) – “There is growing intolerance and hostility toward small Pentecostal Christian communities, that are not allowed to do what is guaranteed by constitutional guarantees”: says to Agenzia Fides Sajan K. George, president of the global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), recalling the recent episodes of violence suffered by Protestant Pentecostal Pastors.

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On August 20, Pastor Roy of the “Sharon Fellowship Church Town” was pelted with stones by extremists in Kodungallur, in the state of Kerala. Pastor Roy explained that, over the last five years, during the Sunday liturgies there have always been tension due to the presence of fanatical Hindus militants who want to stop the celebrations.

In another recent incident, in Bangalore, Karnataka, on August 18, a 26-year-old evangelist Christian leader of the Thadou Christian Fellowship Church was attacked and punched by five men, after paying a visit to his friend to lead a prayer meeting.
According to the Pentecostal communities, these attacks are on the rise. Speaking to Fides, Sajan K. George said: “Pastors are not doing anything illegal, or causing problems of public order or security. It is the militants who carry out gratuitous violence on innocent Christians. It is up to the state to give an institutional response, to stop the violence, ensure the rule of law”.

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On August 25, 2008, nearly 200 villages in Kandhamal were attacked and forced 30,000 people to flee the East-Indian state of Odisha. 300 churches and approx. 5,600 houses were looted and burned to the ground. 2,000 people were reportedly forced to renounce their Christian faith and more than 10,000 children had their education disrupted. The violence against the Christian community in Kandhamal led to the death of about 100 Christians, although the government figures put the figure at 39.

Though incident reports were filed, police investigations were not thorough, cases prematurely closed and offenders not prosecuted. Earlier this month, the Supreme Court of India said the state needed to re-investigate 315 cases of communal violence from 2008.

“The minorities are as much children of the soil as the majority and the approach has been to ensure that nothing should be done, as might deprive the minorities of a sense of belonging, of a feeling of security, of a consciousness of equality and of the awareness that the conservation of their religion, culture, language and script as also the protection of their educational institutions is a fundamental right enshrined in the Constitution… it can, indeed, be said to be an index of the level of civilisation and catholicity of a nation as to how far their minorities feel secure and are not subject to any discrimination or suppression,” read that ruling.

Anti-Christian violence in Kandhamal is not uncommon and Christians in the district have been subject to hate campaigns by Hindu fundamentalists since the 1960s. The violence in 2008 was sparked by the killing of prominent Hindu and the media and police suggested a Maoist group could have been behind the death, however Hindu fundamentalists blamed the Christian community.

India’s Christian communities are tense as violence against them has been on the rise. Please pray for them.

Source: Voice of the Persecuted



Gojra: Muslims doing kindness to Christians as they join hands to build a church in a Muslim majority village

Muslims join forces with Christians in a village of Gojra, and help build a church. Together they have managed to erect boundary walls of the church. In a spectacular display of brotherhood, the villagers are constructing first ever church in the village. “Our mosque stands here from times past, but our Christian brothers also have the right to worship in their church,’ says a local Muslim villager Ijaz Farooq.

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“We have a place to worship, but, Christians do not have one,” Ijaz Farooq said. In the midst of escalating situation of religious extremism and intolerance in the country, such communities also exist where Christians and Muslims live in harmony.

Locals of the village, which is nigh Gojra, a town in Punjab province. What is more, the Muslim villagers are also contributing in the funds for the construction of the church. Thus far, Christians and Muslims have managed to collect about fifty thousand Pakistani rupees for the construction of the church.

Continuing with same zeal and passion, Christians and Muslims endeavoring to realize their dream of Saint Joseph’ Church. The Muslim majority village is home to eight Christian families. Strikingly, Christians and Muslims live together as they seem to know not the concept of religious discrimination.

“As far as I can remember, we have been living together, we partake in each other’s happiness, sorrows and religious festivals,” says one Christian villager Faryal Masih. He went on to pray,” May the Lord protects, everyone of incidents like the one in Gojra,” he added, “However, we are rest assured that our Muslim neighbors will stand by our side in times of trouble.”

Source: Christians in Pakistan