Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan’s only Christian
cabinet member, was assassinated on
March 2, 2011, for opposing Pakistan’s
blasphemy law, which is often used
After reading about mob attacks on Christians in Egypt this month—largely ignored by the media—I thought I’d research the current state of Christian persecution in Africa, India, and the Far East. What follows is a tiny sample of the persecution Christians in these parts of the world have faced in the past three months.
- On March 4, in the village of Soul, south of Cairo, a local imam issued a call to “kill all the Christians.” The imam said Christians had no right to live in the village. Several hours after his call, a mob attacked the local church. They brought down its walls with sledgehammers and set fire to it, nearly killing the parish priest (some reports have it that the priest and three deacons were later killed).
- On March 5, also in the village of Soul, a mob of almost four thousand Muslim extremists attacked Coptic homes, setting fire to them. (There are an estimated twelve thousand Christians in Sol.) The mob prevented fire brigades from extinguishing the fires.
- I’ve written about Yang Caizhen before. She was arrested in November 2009, along with other church leaders, for holding a prayer rally the day after four hundred military police raided the church she and her husband pastor in Linfen, China. Last month, for the second time since her arrest, she was admitted to a hospital. This time her condition appears to be very serious.
- Pastor Vijay Purusu of Bethel Church in India’s Orissa state says that Hindu extremists’ persecution of Christians in the area "has become a daily occurrence." There have been at least fifteen serious attacks on Christians between December 2010 and February 2011, including an assault on Pastor Mark Markani, who was beaten in his home by a group of thirty-five Hindu extremists, and an attack on Christmas Day in which some two hundred Hindus beat worshipers in a church and destroyed ten houses belong to Christians.
- In February, Pastor Hari Shankar Ninama was stripped and beaten by Hindu extremists while he was praying in a home in Ambarunda for the recovery of an eight-year-old boy suffering from an illness. He’d been asked to pray by the boy’s mother.
- For the ninth year in a row, North Korea is at the top of Open Doors’ World Watch List, an annual list that ranks countries by the severity of their persecution of Christians. In North Korea, Christians face torture, life in a labor camp, or execution—simply for being a Christian. Out of a population of twenty-three million, there are an estimated four hundred thousand Christians in North Korea, fifty thousand of them in labor camps.
If you want more information on the persecution of Christians, visit Persecution.org, Voice of the Martyrs, Open Doors, ChinaAid, and Help Linfen. All of these websites offer ways for you to write or email Christian prisoners.