Does advocacy work? Here’s just a few of our recent success stories:
35 Christians Released from Prison in Saudi Arabia
On December 15th, 2011, 35 men and women were arrested at a private prayer service in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. All 35 were Christians and Ethiopian citizens. During their interrogation, some of the men were physically beaten and the women were forced to undergo strip searches. Local authorities openly accused them of being “unbelievers” and friends of American and Israel. ICC broke the news a few days later and in January held a conference call with the U.S. State Department, urging the U.S. to take action on the case.
After four months and two ICC sponsored protests outside of the Saudi embassy in D.C., we took an underground pastor who was familiar with the prisoners to Capitol Hill and held twenty-four meetings with Congressional offices in the House and Senate. This resulted in calls directly from our nations leaders to the Saudi ambassador as well as Saudi officials being called to House offices to explain the arrest in person. We soon heard from our sources in Jeddah that orders had “come from above” for the release of the prisoners, who had never been officially charged with any crime.
It appears that local authorities were angered by the order to release the prisoners and delayed as long as possible, but finally, in early August, 2012, all 35 prisoners were released and sent back to Ethiopia after almost 8 months of detention.They reported that pressure from the outside had been instrumental in ending their stay in a Saudi jail.
Justice for Christians in Ethiopia
In the first week of March, 2011, Muslim militants killed one Christian, burned down 69 churches and several Christian homes in Asendabo, Ethiopia. More than 10,000 were displaced in the violence due to the severe losses and fear of continued attacks. ICC was the first organization to break the news about the attacks and draw international attention to the impunity of perpetrators after the violence took place. ICC collected over 1,100 signatures from 50 nations worldwide, and worked with 14 offices of US federal representatives, commissions, and the State Department calling for known perpetrators to be judged in Ethiopian courts. This June, ICC was the first to learn that 579 Ethiopians were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 3 months to 18 years for taking part in the violence. An additional 107 individuals are accused of terrorism and the public prosecutors have brought charges against them in federal court. Eight individuals suspected to be among the masterminds of the violence are still at large, but Ethiopian authorities are searching for them.
Christians Released from Prison in Ethiopia
In March, 2011, ICC used government contacts to advocate on behalf of a Christian brother imprisoned in Ethiopia. After a few weeks he was released and cited ICC advocacy efforts as the reason for the release.
Then, in October, 2011, ICC discovered that three Ethiopian Christians had been imprisoned for preaching the gospel to Muslims. An employee of ICC contacted the prison officials responsible for the arrests and warned them that their detention of the Christian men for preaching was not only illegal, but that it had caught the attention of the outside world. Within days all three Christians were released from prison.
Nigerian Advocacy Efforts Picked up in Nigerian Press
We brought a church leader from Nigeria to the US to highlight the tragic slaughter of Christians that is happening in that country. ICC organized two weeks of meetings with Senators, Congressmen, State Department officials, NGO’s, and local churches. These meetings resulted in two Congressional inquiries to the Nigerian legislature expressing alarm at the situation. The Nigerian press picked up on this and added further to ongoing actions enforcing justice for those who have failed to protect the hundreds of Christian victims.
Plight of Moroccan Christians Highlighted for First Time
In 2010, we brought a high-profile expelled Moroccan to the US to highlight the recent deportations of Christians and the underlying persecution of Moroccan Christians. He met with Congressmen who are leading an effort to hold the government of Morocco accountable for persecution. Because of his visit the plight of local Moroccan Christian’s was highlighted for the first time in an official hearing and he was able to submit testimony for the Congressional Record.
In June, 2010, ICC brought attention for the first time to the case of Jamaa Ait Bakrim, a Moroccan Christian who has been in prison for his faith since 2005. This has led to other organizations picking up the story; attention and pressure continue to build for his release.
Eight Months of Work Pay Off Imprisoned Afghan Believer Freed
Said Musa, a convert to Christianity, was imprisoned in Afghanistan in May of 2010. Within weeks, ICC visited Afghanistan to obtain an overview of the case and work on a strategy to get him released. Since then, we have been working steadily behind the scenes on his case with Senators, Congressional Representatives, the State Deptartment, and the press.
One of our early successes was to get him moved to a safer prison after we received a smuggled letter from him detailing his physical and sexual abuse. Upon receipt of the letter, we immediately met with a government agency to alert them to the case. We told them we would go public with the case unless he was moved to a safer cell. Since this kind of case is highly inflammatory, they didn’t want it going public.
The day after our meeting, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul immediately sent representatives to meet with Said in prison to ascertain his status. Three days after the meeting, he was moved to a safer cell away from Taliban prisoners. Following that initial meeting, we made numerous visits and calls to lawmakers and government officials to move the case forward.
Over the course of several months, ICC’s president and regional manager gave countless interviews to the highest profile newsmakers, including Fox News, Wall Street Journal, Christianity Today, World Magazine, the AP, and the Washington Post, to name a few. All the hard work paid off in late February when we received news that he had been released. We had the honor to be the first to tell the world that he was free and in safety.
ICC Petitions Around the World
ICC petitions have been translated into Arabic and French, picked up by human rights organizations, and have supporters from around the world including many persecuted countries.
Reminding everyone to send their Yellow Envelopes today, or on Monday, June 3rd.
Naghmeh is in Geneva and will be speaking out for freedom of religion and on behalf of her husband, Saeed Abedini– an American pastor wrongfully imprisoned in Iran for his faith. As she prepares to address the UN on Monday, June 3, 2013, we can flood the State Department with our Yellow Envelopes! Be Saeed’s ‘Voice’ and ask our government to do more to obtain his release!
This campaign will continue each month until he is back on American soil and reunited with his wife and young children!
Praying continues around the world– around the clock! Pray for God to give Naghmeh wisdom and peace while she is in Geneva, pray God will speak through her that every ear will hear and every heart molded to His will.
Continue to pray for Saeed’s freedom and his health! He is being denied medical treatment for internal bleeding caused by the abuse he has received in the notorious Evin prison!
Thank you for joining with us and giving a VOICE to those who have been SILENCED.
May God bless our path!
Click the link below for more details!
(World Watch Monitor) Around 1,200 Christians now incarcerated after a spate of arrests in 2013.
Religious persecution in Eritrea is at its “highest level ever and getting worse”, an Eritrean Christian leader, who cannot be named for security reasons, has told the Christian charity Open Doors International.
Thirty-seven Christian students from the College of Arts and Social Sciences in the town of Adi Kihe, and five men from the Church of the Living God in Asmara, were arrested last week, taking the total number of Christians known to have been arrested this year to 191.
Open Doors, a ministry to Christians who live under pressure because of their faith, estimates around 1,200 Christians are now incarcerated in Eritrea. However, some estimates claim the figure to be as high as 3,000.
Churches in Eritrea have been monitored closely since May 2002, when the government closed all Protestant and Pentecostal churches which did not apply for registration with the department of Religious affairs.
Eleven years later, there is evidence of widespread human rights abuses by the Eritrean government, according to human rights organisation, Amnesty International.
“Twenty years on from the euphoric celebrations of independence, Eritrea is one of the most repressive, secretive and inaccessible countries in the world,” Amnesty International’s Eritrea Researcher, Claire Beston, told the BBC.
In its latest report this month, Amnesty International reported evidence of “arbitrary arrest and detention without trial on a vast scale to crush all actual and suspected opposition, to silence government critics and to punish anyone who refuses to comply with the restrictions on human rights imposed by the government”.
The government of Eritrea rejected the report as “wild accusations” and “totally unsubstantiated”.
However, Selam Kidane, an Eritrean expatriate and Director of Release Eritrea, a UK-based human rights organization, told World Watch Monitor there had been an “intensification” of religious persecution since January.
“We can’t pin it down to anything that has happened, or triggered it, but there have been lots of arrests,” she said.
Kidane said the Eritrean government is following the leaders of illegal underground churches to gather information and make arrests.
And while religious persecution in Eritrea is not limited to Christians, Kidane said the underground Christian church has suffered most.
“Any religion that’s not willing to come under the control of the government is being persecuted,” she said. “It’s not just confined to Christians. But in terms of being completely banned, it’s the minority churches that have suffered the most – the Pentecostal Church, the Evangelical Church – they are ones that have been stigmatized and been accused of all sorts of things by their communities and by other faith groups.”
Almost half the population of Eritrea is Christian. Nearly nine out of 10 Christians belong to the Orthodox Church, while almost all the rest are Catholic or Protestant.
Eritrea is ranked 10th on the World Watch List, which ranks the 50 countries in which Christians are most under pressure for their faith.
“When Christians in Eritrea are discovered, they are arrested and held in shipping containers in military camps. At least 105 Christians were arrested in 2012, and 31 Christians were reported to have died in prison,” the World Watch List reports.
Please remember to pray for our brothers and sisters in Eritrea!
(FoxNews) A staggering 100,000 Christians are killed annually because of their faith, according to the Vatican — and several human rights groups claim such anti-Christian violence is on the rise in countries like Pakistan, Nigeria and Egypt.
On Tuesday, Vatican spokesman Monsieur Silvano Maria Tomassi said in a radio address to the United Nations Human Rights Council,
“Credible research has reached the shocking conclusion that an estimate of more than 100,000 Christians are violently killed because of some relation to their faith every year.”
“Other Christians and other believers are subjected to forced displacement, to the destruction of their places of worship, to rape and to the abduction of their leaders, as it recently happened in the case of Bishops Yohanna Ibrahim and Boulos Yaziji, in Aleppo [Syria],” Tomassi said.
While several human rights groups could not comment specifically on the Vatican’s number, organizations like Persecution.Org said the persecutions of Christians have been on the rise in places like Africa and the Middle East over the last decade.
“Two-hundred million Christians currently live under persecution. It’s absolutely on the rise,” Jeff King, the group’s president, told FoxNews.com.
“It’s easing in the old Communist world and it’s rising in the Islamic world,” King said, noting in particular countries like Egypt, Pakistan and Nigeria. King said that the first major killing spree in recent years happened between 1998 and 2003, when he claims 10,000 Christians were murdered in Indonesia,” Credible research has reached the shocking conclusion that an estimate of more than 100,000 Christians are violently killed because of some relation to their faith every year,” alone during those years.
Last March, a Nigerian Christian leader was killed when suspected Muslim militants burst into his home and shot him. Two members of Islamic militant group Boko Haram shot Faye Pama Mysa, a Pentecostal pastor and secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria, in his home Wednesday, according to multiple reports. The killing happened just after President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency because of ongoing attacks in Africa’s most populous nation.
King spoke of another example in which young Christian girls were forced into sex slavery in Bangladesh. More than 140 children were rescued from Islamic training centers over the last year — with the majority of girls being targeted because of their religion, according to King.
John Eibner, CEO of Christian Solidarity International, has raised grave concerns over what he calls “religious cleansing” in Syria.
“Religious minorities are under constant threat in Syria,” Eibner told FoxNews.com. “If things continue as they have been for the past two years in Syria, with an increase in religious cleansing, it’s reasonable to think that there will be no more Christian communities or other religious minorities in the near future.”
“Anti-Christian violence is on the increase throughout the world, especially throughout North Africa and the Middle East,” he added. “It’s hard for me to say with precision what the numbers are, but without doubt anti-Christian violence is on the increase.”
Dinah Pokempner, general counsel for Human Rights Watch, was not able to independently verify the Vatican’s figure, but said, “I think there’s little doubt that every week, every day, someone in the world is being persecuted – even to the point of losing their life – based on their religion.”
“Persecution is a daily event on the basis of religion,” Pokempner said. “This persecution affects Christians just as it does Muslims, Jews, Bahá’ís and people of other faiths.”
A spokesman with the Vatican could not be immediately reached for comment.
Jane Zimmerman, the U.S. State Department’s Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, said in a statement that: “While I’m unfamiliar with the methodology that was used to reach that number, we have certainly followed numerous cases in recent years in which Christians and others of many faiths have been attacked or killed on account of their religious beliefs.”
“Whatever the numbers, no one should die for professing or practicing their faith, whatever that faith is,” Zimmerman told FoxNews.com. “The United States firmly supports the freedom to profess and practice one’s faith, to believe or not to believe, and to change one’s beliefs. As Secretary Kerry said on May 20, religious freedom ‘is a birthright of every human being.”
God forgive all of us who called ourselves Christians and yet did, or do nothing to intervene.
Reblogged from Vine of Life
Jim Wallace writes in The Australian:
THE hardest test of foreign policy is not its intersections at the lofty geopolitical level but where it inevitably affects ordinary people, and nowhere is this test as difficult as in the Middle East.
As I visited the area recently to assess the situation of minorities in the Syrian conflict, it quickly became evident that the West’s policy there courts a disaster.
I was not surprised. While my experience was dated, I had lived in the Middle East and observed some of its most enduring conflicts. Unfortunately, the passage of time seems to have taught us little.
Some level of confusion about Middle East politics is excusable for anyone.
Attempts to decipher it are always muddied by a bewildering array of sects and agendas in the context of alliances of convenience, even between sworn enemies.
But surely an alliance with al-Qa’ida is beyond the pale for any US government, even if its purpose is to counter Iran’s influence.
The pictures of the American family devastated by the Boston bomb would be enough for me, but the US State Department certainly hasn’t considered Syria’s Christian minorities adequately.
There are reports of heartbreak as people who lived in harmony for decades are suddenly turned into bitter enemies by the radicalisation of previously moderate Sunnis under the influence of the al-Qa’ida proxy Jabhat al-Nusra.
Syria has always been somewhat unusual in the Arab world for its secularism and religious freedom.
When I lived in Damascus for six months, Christian churches were easy to find and join. There was also a ready acceptance by Muslims and Druze, many of whom became good friends. And it seems this continued to be the case until the revolution two years ago. Then cries of “Alawites out” and “Christians to Lebanon” suddenly filled the air in crowds stirred up by extremists.
For Christians to be thrown out of Syria after more than 2000 years of history is too much for most. Despite the steady flow of refugees, most will stay. But the cost of staying is extreme.
Al-Nusra empties any area it captures of the “infidels”. Occupants of centuries-old Christian quarters in the ancient cities of Aleppo, Hama and Homs have been turned out of their homes with nothing. The aged are not spared and those refusing to leave are sometimes killed.
Also heartbreaking for these ancient communities is that their churches in the occupied parts of these cities have been destroyed and desecrated, at least one being used as a toilet by al-Nusra, as an illustration of its utter contempt for Christianity.
There are some Christians fighting with the Free Syrian Army. Although they were part of an initially secular opposition, their position becomes increasingly tenuous as al-Nusra’s dominance of the opposition increases by the day.
As always in war, it is perhaps the women who suffer most.
Al-Nusra fighters see Christian women as little more than booty. One woman tearfully told of a friend considering suicide as she contemplated the possibility of rape, which two of her friends had suffered. As a Christian in an al-Nusra-held area, she knew she risked the same fate.
These are ancient Christian communities that look to Western governments not to abandon them by pursuing irrational policies, including a partnership with foreign jihadists allied to al-Qa’ida.
It is long past time for the West to make a stand in two other areas that are essential to combating Muslim extremism at home and abroad.
The first is that Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which are funding the extremist al-Qa’ida fighters, must be told to back off. In addition we cannot accept that as many as 200 Australians might be fighting for al-Qa’ida in Syria as part of a contingent of foreign fighters drawn from Western and Middle Eastern Islamic communities.
All Western countries must pass and enforce anti-mercenary laws that will forbid their nationals from fighting as mercenaries without losing their nationality.
We have an army to fight our wars and joining it should be the only way for an Australian to become a combatant.
The so-called Arab Spring was never going to be that for anyone but extremists across the Middle East. Unless the West reconsiders its support to an opposition dominated by al-Qa’ida, vulnerable Syrian Christians will face even worse persecution than that experienced by Egypt’s Copts.
-posted by Theodore Shoebat
The ACLJ along with Naghmeh Abedini will be addressing the United Nations on Pastor Saeed’s Case to U.N. for 2nd Time.
The ACLJ and Saeed’s wife asks:
We want to bring 600,000 signatures to the U.N. when we present Pastor Saeed’s case for the second time.
Help us meet this goal. Share & Sign the petition at savesaeed.org
Brothers and Sisters,
Please partner with us in helping them to reach that goal. Almost there! Thank you in advance.
We are continuing daily to pray for the miracle of Saeed’s release!
In Solidarity, VOP
Pastor Saeed was:
- Arrested and imprisoned by Iranian Revolutionary Guards;
- Repeatedly beaten in prison.
- Continues to be denied access to needed medical care treatment for internal bleeding caused by this abuse. This has been ongoing for months now.
- Denied access to his attorney until mere hours before his trial;
- Given a sham trial before a judge so notoriously biased and corrupt that he was condemned by the European Union for issuing egregious verdicts;
- Disallowed, along with his counsel, from attending the second day of his trial; and
- Sentenced to eight years in Evin Prison for exercising his Christian faith. In addition to directly abusing Pastor Saeed and violating his rights, Iranian officials directly threatened an Abedini family friend assisting the family in seeking Pastor Saeed’s release on bail. And the list goes on…
I covet your prayers. I know I am not alone, I have Jesus by my side and I have all of you behind me with your love and prayers. Thank you.
I would like to emphasize again that this is a crucial time to be a voice for Saeed and those imprisoned for their faith in Iran. As Christians or even as humans, we should care about justice and human rights. This is the time to get together one day before the Iranian election (June 13, 2013) to make our voice known to the Iranian government. Please join me and ask others to join by participating in the peaceful demonstration where you live (closest Iranian Embassy near you) and by praying for His Leading in all of this.
From the Standing together for Human Rights in Iran, Facebook page:
My Dear Friends دوستان عزیز
I need your support more than ever as I am coordinating a worldwide day of peaceful demonstration at all Iranian Embassies around the world on June 13, 2013 (one day before the Iranian Election) at noon in your …country.
من بیشتر از هر زمان دیگری به حمایت و پشتیبانی شما نیاز دارم زیرا در حال هماهنگ سازی روز جهانی اعتراض صلح آمیز در سفارتخانه های ایران در سراسر جهان در کشور خودتان، ظهر روز 13 ژوئن 2013(یک روز مانده به انتخابات ریاست جمهوری ایران) میباشم.
The Iranian government has tried to silence the Iranian people and has showed no care to respond to any international voices (US, more than 15 countries around the world, the UN and…) in regard to their continued imprisonment of Pastor Saeed Abedini, an American Citizen, and their continued violation of human rights in Iran.
دولت ایران سعی کرده که مردم ایران را ساکت کند و هیچ اهمیتـــــــی نیز به اعتراضات بین المللی (امریکا، بیش از 15 کشور در سراسر جهان، سازمان ملل و …) نشان نمی دهد. همچنین به نقض حقوق بشر و نگه داشتن کشیش سعید عابدینی (شهروند امریکایی ) در زندان ادامه میدهد.
They cannot silence millions of voices all around the world as we unite together to voice our concern for the human rights violation of Saeed Abedini and other political prisoners at Evin Prison.
و خاموش کنند؛ چنانچه همۀ ما در خصوص اعتراض به نقض حقوق انسانی سعید عابدینی و همچنین سایر زندانیان سیاسی در زندان اوین با هم متحد شویم.
As the Iranian election nears, the Iranian government has used all methods to silence media and the Iranian people. We need to be louder than ever the day before their election and to let them know we care about the tortures and human rights abuse in Iran.
با نزدیک شدن به انتخابات ریاست جمهوری، دولت ایران از هر روشی برای ساکت کردن مردم ایران و رسانه ها استفاده می کند. لازم است که در روز پیش از انتخابات بیش از هر زمان دیگری اعتراضاتمان محکمــتر باشد تا بدانند که ما به شکنجه ها و سوءاستفاده های انسانی در ایران توجه می کنیــــم.
Please join me in coordinating and spreading this great cause.
لطفاً برای هماهنگی، اطلاع رسانی و گسترش این اتفاق مهمّ به من بپیوندید.
The day of peaceful demonstrations will occur on June 13th, 2013 at noon in your country.
اعتراض صلح آمیز در ظهر روز 13 ژوئن 2013 در کشور خود شما می باشد.
In order to make this coordinated effort a reality, I have created a Facebook page to serve as a focal point for invitations and communications. If you are willing to “host” a demonstration at an Iranian embassy or mission in your country, please.
بمنظور تحقق بخشیدن و هماهنگی این روز، یک صفحۀ فیس بوک در جهت برقراری ارتباط و دعوت ساخته شده است. چنانچه می خواهید میزبان این اعتراض در سفارتخانۀ ایران در کشور خود باشید، لطفاً نکات زیر را ملاحظه فرمایید:
1. Post information on the address of the embassy, UN mission, or consulate and what time you will be there, in your own language, on the page. You can find addresses of Iranian Embassies and Consulates here: http://ir.embassyinformation.com/
1.اطلاعت مربوط به سفارتخانه، سازمان UN یا کنسولگری و همچنین ساعتی که در آنجا حضور خواهید داشت را به زبان خود بر روی صفحه پُست کنید. می توانید آدرس سفارتخانه ها و کنسولگــری های ایران را از این سایت بیابید: http://ir.embassyinformation.com/
2. Spread the word about your demonstration through e-mail, word of mouth, and social media, encouraging others to join you in peaceful demonstration.
2.دربارۀ این اعتراض صلح آمیز می توانید از طریق ایمیل، رسانه های اجتماعی و صحبت با افراد دیگر اطلاع رسانی کرده و آنها را تشویق نمایید تا در این اعتراض صلح آمیز به شما بپیوندند.
3. I would love for this Facebook page to unite us in remembrance of those we know and love whose basic rights of conscience have been violated by the Iranian Regime. To this end, I invite you to post pictures, short stories, and names on the Facebook page to explain the reason you are participating in this peaceful protest and in whose honor you demonstrate your disappointment with the government’s human rights abuses.
3. خواستۀ قلبی من این است که این صفحۀ فیس بوک ما را متحّد و یکدل کند؛ بمنظور یادآوری کسانی که می شناسیم و دوستشان داریم و حقوق ابتدایی عقیدتی آنها توسط رژیم ایران نقض شده است. بدین منظور از شما دعوت می کنم تا با گذاشتن تصویر، داستان کوتاه و اسامی بر روی این صفحه، دلیل شرکت خود در این اعتراض آرام را توضیح دهید و همچنین راجع به اشخاصی مطلب بگذارید که بخاطر آنها می خواهید ناامیدی خود را در این اعتراض نسبت به نقض حقوق بشر دولت ایران نشان دهید.
4. Please avoid violence and insults against the Iranian Regime or specific government leaders. This hostility may endanger those who are currently being held as prisoners of conscience.
4.خواهش می کنم از خشونت و توهین نسبت به رژیم ایران یا رهبران خاصّ دولتـــــــی پرهیز و اجتناب کنید. چنانچه خشونتی صورت گیرد، جان کسانی را که در حال حاضر زندانی عقیدتـــــــی هستند، به خطر می اندازد.
Please contact me with questions and ideas. I look forward to hearing of your action on June 13th.
چنانچه سؤال یا پیشنهادی دارید، با من تماس بگیرید. مشتاقانه منتظر آگاه شدن از فعالیتهای شما در روز 13 ژوئن می باشم.
VOP: Please join with our sister, Nagmeh. Let’s stand together for Saeed and all our brothers and sisters in Iran! STAND – IN SOLIDARITY!!!
Help us meet this goal before May 30th! SIGN HERE
For more information on Naghmeh’s husband, American Pastor Saeed Abedini imprisoned in Iran–Click Here
Sudan (MNN) ― An Islamic leader is telling Sudan’s government to take action against Christians. Ammar Saleh, the chairman of the Islamic Centre for Preaching and Comparative Studies, slammed his government last week for not taking decisive action against Christian missionaries, who he claims were operating “boldly” in Sudan. According to independent media agency The Sudan Tribune, Saleh appealed to local authorities and the community to take a stand against “Christianisation” and find a long-term solution to what he views as a massive problem.
He says his government’s efforts in this regard are timid compared to missionaries’ efforts and claims 109 people have converted from Islam to Christianity in Khartoum. Saleh says these figures are growing in a “continuous” and “scary” fashion.
Dykstra says there are two sides to this coin. “The bad news is that he wants to put more pressure on the government and the army to crack down on the Christians there,” he explains. “But the good news is that many there are coming to Christ.” Despite persecution, Open Doors is seeing the Body of Christ in Sudan grow. “It’s been difficult for them obviously, but they are growing in numbers,” states Dykstra. In addition, a member of Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP), Adam Mudawi, claims the NCP has information indicating that the Orthodox Church in Ombadda is hiding a large cache of weapons. Mudawi also accuses the church of exploiting poor people by giving them financial support and assistance if they convert to Christianity. According to Open Doors, Sudanese Christians have seen a dramatic increase in pressure over the past few months. Churches are being forced to close, and foreign workers are being kicked out of the country. Given this tense atmosphere, Mudawi’s accusations may have serious consequences for Christians in Sudan.
“We need to pray for Christians, especially those that are being marginalized around Khartoum,” says Dykstra. “We also need to pray that there will be peace.”
To help Sudanese Christians cope with growing persecution, Open Doors recently held two Standing Strong Through the Storm seminars. These seminars teach Christians how to relate to persecution and how to pray for one another. A total of 13 different denominations were represented at the two seminars. “The focus was to advance church unity, and many of the people who attended really appreciated the seminars,” Dykstra says. “It was a blessing that nobody was targeted or they weren’t broken up.” Persecution in Sudan has moved the country from #16 on the Open Doors 2012 World Watch List to #12 in 2013.