Worldwide  Persecution of Christians:          "Níor dhún Dia doras riamh
nár oscail Sé ceann eile.

("God never closed one door without opening another." -Old Gaelic Saying)


Image: The Prayer Foundation logo (with white Celtic cross on a green shield).

          "The first thing persecuted Christians ask me for is prayer."  

-Brother Andrew


Photo: "Skellig Michael" Copyright Irish Tiurist Board.


Image: portion of illuminated manuscript page from "The Book of Kells."Photo: of an ancient Chinese architecture temple complex.  Photo Copyright 2002 S.G.P.  All Rights Reserved. "For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you . . ."  -Colossians 1:9

"The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church."  

"Go on, rack, torture, grind us to powder: our numbers increase in proportion as you mow us down.  The blood of Christians is their harvest seed."  -Tertullian (Ca. 200 A.D.)

In the past 100 years (during the 20th Century) 26,000,000 Christians were killed for their faith (martyred).  This is more than the combined total of all previous centuries.  It does not count the untold numbers who were persecuted in other ways, imprisoned, tortured, and even enslaved.  

These things are all still going on right now, and in certain countries are worse than they have ever been.


[Back] 200 Million Christians in 60 Countries Subject to Persecution


    Iran: where repression is escalating and Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who has been sentenced to death for apostasy, awaits the 'opinion' of the supreme leader Ayatolla Ali Khamenei. Please continue in prayer.

    Russia: where proposed amendments to the Law on the Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organisations (1997) threaten to impact non-Russian Orthodox denominations negatively and significantly restrict religious freedom.

    Egypt: where Copts are reeling from the 9 October Maspero Massacre, when Egyptian security forces attacked Coptic Christians (and sympathetic Muslims) who were peacefully protesting against religious discrimination. Twenty-six people -- mostly Christians -- were killed and over 300 were wounded as the army beat, shot and drove armored vehicles into the protesters whom they abused as 'infidels' and 'sons of dogs'. The military has assumed control of the investigation. The Copts are the indigenous people of Egypt and the descendants of the Pharaohs. The Copts have been Christian for 2000 years.

    Indonesia: DEATHS IN PAPUA (formerly Irian Jaya)

    Some 5000 Papuans from across the Eastern Indonesian province gathered in Jayapura for the third Papuan Congress from 17 to19 October, its 50th anniversary. The Congress opened with prayers and included several church leaders amongst the speakers, including Rev Benny Giay, Rev. Socrates S. Yoman and Rev. Yemima Krey. By 8am on 19 October the streets were lined with some 3100 military and police officers wearing full combat gear and holding assault rifles. Armored vehicles and police trucks were also out in force. As in past Papuan Congresses (1961 & 2000), a declaration of independence was read and the Morning Star flag raised. The police responded by storming the Congress ostensibly to put down the 'coup'. More than 300 Papuans were arrested, dozens wounded and six killed. The Melanesian Christian Papuans seek an end to the racial-religious discrimination and persecution they suffer at the hands of Javanese Muslims and the Indonesian government. Please pray.


    On Monday 24 October, National Transitional Council leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil declared Libya to be 'liberated'. Operating free of any democratic constraints, Jalil also declared that the law against polygamy will be repealed (bad news for women), Islamic banking will be adopted (bad news for the economy) and Sharia (Islamic) Law will form the basis for all Libyan law (bad news for all who desire religious liberty). As has happened in Iraq and Afghanistan, any concession to religious freedom will be rendered void by the supremacy of Sharia which prohibits fitna (anything that could shake the faith of a Muslim), especially proselytism (Christian witness), blasphemy (criticising Islam) and apostasy (leaving Islam). Please pray for the Church in Libya.


    On 3 August Islamic religious leaders and police raided the church of Pastor Daniel Ho, ostensibly to prevent 'apostasy'. Whilst Muslims were present, the meeting was actually a dinner for people involved in the church's welfare programs, including single mothers and HIV/AIDS victims. The raid caused a stir in Malaysia. On Saturday 22 October an Islamist non-government organization, with permission from the ruling Umno and police, held an anti-apostasy rally in Shah Alam on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. An estimated 5000 slogan-chanting Muslims attended, though the organizers had hoped for a million. BN-Umno (which rules, but with a greatly reduced majority) doubtless supported the event hoping to dragnet the Muslim vote. This can only embolden Malaysia's intolerant Islamist forces.


    Tunisia's once-banned Islamist 'Ennahda' party has claimed victory in the first democratic elections of the 'Arab Spring'. Ennahda party officials have said they are prepared to form an alliance with two left-wing secularist parties, the Congress for the Republic and Ettakatol. Early results indicate that Ennahda will win more than 40 percent of the 217 seats. The anti-Islamist Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) will lead the opposition. Ennahda leader, Rachid Ghannouchi, recently returned from 22 years in exile in the UK. Prior to the elections, the formerly-banned party opened offices across the nation and flooded it with fliers, though where the funding came from is unclear. The Ennahda-dominated national assembly will have one year to draft a new constitution. Pray for tolerance and religious freedom to survive in the new Tunisia.

    Kazakhstan: On 13 October President Nursultan Nazarbayev signed into law two amendments that will effectively repress all non-officially sanctioned expression of religion. The new laws came in to force on 24 October.

    Maldives: Any lingering hopes for reform may be discarded as Maldivian authorities expel an Indian teacher accused of spreading Christianity after he was found with a Bible in his house. The Ministry of Islamic Affairs is signaling its intention to enforce fully the Protection of Religious Unity Act (1994) which bans the promotion of any religion other than Islam or any opinion that disagrees with Islamic scholars. This is the result when reformists hold power only by means of alliances with Islamists as it gives Islamists the balance of power, the most powerful position.

    Somalia: It was recently reported that Guled Jama Muktar, a 17-year-old Somali Christian, was kidnapped from his home and beheaded by al-Shabaab militants in Hudur City in south-western Somalia last month. After quickly burying their son, Guled's parents, also Christians, fled for their lives. Nobody has heard from them.

    Sudan: On 12 October the president of Sudan, Omar el-Bashir, announced that Sudan will go ahead with plans to adopt an entirely Islamic constitution and strengthen Islamic law. Meanwhile authorities in Omdurman, on the Nile River opposite Khartoum, have threatened to demolish three churches in the Madinat al Fath area if they continue to conduct worship services. One Christian leader told Compass Direct News he fears that 'evil plans' are being directed against the churches and against Christianity in Sudan. The Islamic jihad continues in South Kordofan and Blue Nile where the SPLM-North is fighting for the survival of the Christians and non-Arabs of Sudan's 'new south'. Humanitarian corridors remain closed.

    An estimated 100 million Christians worldwide suffer interrogation, arrest and even death for their faith in Christ, with millions more facing discrimination and alienation. Open Doors supports and strengthens believers in the world's most difficult areas through Bible and Christian literature distribution, leadership training and assistance, Christian community development, prayer and presence ministry and advocacy on behalf of suffering believers.

Where is the church receiving the greatest persecution today?
A major area of intense persecution today is in the "10/40 Window" where 97 percent of the world’s least evangelized people live. This rectangular area extends from West Africa across Asia, between the 10th and 40th parallels north of the equator.

There are 1.6 billion Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists living in this window, and in some countries the Church has almost been eliminated as a result of Islamic oppression.  The Christian population there is less than 2 percent, a small but precious minority.


Text is in the Public Domain.

Photos & Layout: Copyright © 2006 S.G.P. All rights reserved. 

   Photo of Skellig Michael Copyright © Irish Tourist Board.