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Open Doors News

Syria: 'We are seeing beautiful results' - Pastor B


"We're about to finish the fourth year of the war. In March we will start the fifth year of this war," says Pastor Boutros*. He leads one of the churches we partner with in the coastal city of Tartus in Syria. "There are long cuts in electricity supply. Also, there's no fuel; that means no heating. The price of fuel is twice as much as it was before. And we're not seeing that there is a political solution to the crisis. Every day people are dying, and there are cities that are completely deserted." But thanks to your support, Pastor Boutros' church is supporting thousands of families.

"Even though the situation is difficult and prolonged, I thank you that you have continued with us."
- Pastor B, Syria

Eritrea: 'People disappear every day'

22 April 2015 - Among the 800 migrants who drowned when their ship capsized off the Italian coast there were some 150 from Eritrea. The Guardian has an excellent article which demonstrates that many Eritrean refugees are not so-called 'economic migrants' but people who are desperate for freedom. "In Eritrea you're even afraid to talk to your family," Sofia told the reporter. "The person next to me [in a cafe] could be a spy, and they are looking at what you are doing. People disappear every day." Read more


Libya: IS kill 30 Christians, destroy churches

20 April 2015 - Islamic State (IS) militants have released a new video purportedly showing the killing of up to 30 Ethiopian Christians in Libya. Footage also includes the destruction of a number of churches, altars and works of art. The footage shows the fate of two groups of captives: the first group of men were beheaded on a beach, a second group of fifteen are shot in the back of the head in a desert. Read more


Egypt: Archbishop - 'Islamic State is deeply evil'

20 April 2015 - "I believe Islamic State is deeply evil - even to its own supporters." These were the words of Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, during a recent interview with the BBC. The Archbishop was in Egypt for a 'visit of condolence' following the murders of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya in February. He called for more support for Christians facing persecution. He took with him letters of condolence from the families of British terror victims to Pope Tawadros, leader of Egypt's Coptic Christians and leader of the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. Read more


Kenya: Garissa survivor in 'traumatic shock'

20 April 2015 - Esther Kinyua is one of the survivors of the al-Shabaab attack on Garissa University on 2 April. Open Doors staff met the 21-year-old in a Nairobi hospital while visiting students injured in the attack. "I was just getting up when the attack started. I ran out with my roommates, but I quickly doubled back when I looked around and realised people were falling all around me - they were being shot." Read more


Migrants risk death to escape persecution

20 April 2015 - Another 700 Africans attempting to reach Europe by boat are feared dead after their boat sank some 60 miles off the Libyan coast. At the time of writing, just 28 had been rescued by the Italian coastguard, and 24 bodies had been recovered. Read more


Yemen: Call for prayer as crisis continues

17 April 2015 - As fighting continues between various factions in Yemen, the situation on the ground is grim. In some places, much of daily life has come to a standstill. In other places, life goes on as normal, but with fear for what the future will bring. Despite this, national and international believers have remained active in gathering to encourage one another and to reach out to the community around them. But our church family in Yemen needs our prayers. Read more


Could Christianity be driven from Middle East?

16 April 2015 - Can Christianity survive, in the face of persecution and conflict, in the region of its birth? The BBC's Jane Corbin travelled across the Middle East - through Iraq and Syria - to investigate the plight of Christians, as hundreds of thousands flee Islamic militancy in the region. This excellent article by Jane Corbin includes an interview with Father Douglas, whose work with refugees is supported by Open Doors Read more


Turkey: Assyrian Christians flee jihadists

15 April 2015 - A harsh Islamic State offensive against Syria's dwindling Assyrian Christian population is accelerating the flight of refugees into Turkey. Some 220 Christians from a cluster of villages in northeast Syria were taken hostage by IS on 23 February. At least 23 hostages were subsequently released and reached safety in Hassaka city by 3 March, but there has been no further news of the remaining hostages. "We did not believe that we would come out alive," one of the released Christians later said Read more


Nigeria: Escaped Chibok girl speaks about Boko Haram abduction

15 April 2015 - As we remember the abduction of the Chibok girls a year ago this week, we are able to hear from "Saa", one of the girls who escaped Boko Haram's clutches by jumping from the truck they were using to transport the girls. She was interviewed in February at the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy, and tells the story of that fateful night on 14 April 2014. Read more


UK: Run the London 10K!

15 April 2015 - Want to run and raise money for persecuted Christians? This year you can enter the British London 10K and get sponsored to raise money and awareness for Open Doors Read more


Keep hope alive in the Middle East

15 April 2015 - Urgent action: call UK political leaders to stand with the church in the Middle East The rise of extremism in the Middle East has left many Christian communities without hope for a future in the region - the birthplace of their faith. It is vital that our political leaders hear this message and, whatever the outcome on 7 May, commit to support the church in the Middle East Read more


Kenya: Garissa survivor speaks of trauma and 'God's intervention'

15 April 2015 - Following the attack in Garissa on 2 April, Open Doors workers visited Garissa to encourage Christians and assess their needs. We spoke to Frederick Gitonga, the 21-year-old Chairman of the Christian Students' Union on the Garissa campus of Moi University, who survived the attack. He would normally have been at the prayer meeting where 22 students from the Christian Union were killed, but avoided the same fate after he found he was too tired to attend. Read more


Nigeria: The girls from Chibok one year on, still missing, still lost

14 April 2015 - It was late in the evening when the seven Toyota pickup trucks emerged from the dense Sambisa forest and rolled into the north Nigerian town of Chibok. They drove to the senior secondary school, where the men on the trucks - heavily armed members of the Islamist group Boko Haram - overpowered the security guards. They herded 252 female students, aged between 16 and 20, onto the trucks and drove away deep into the forest, into the darkness, into the night. Most were Christians, members of the Church of the Brethren Read more


Nigeria: Christians react cautiously to new government

13 April 2015 - On 28 March northern Muslim Muhammadu Buhari won the presidential elections, beating incumbent Goodluck Jonathan by almost 2 million votes. The evidence shows that, although the Christian vote in the country went predominantly to Jonathan, Christians in the north lost confidence in him as they saw Boko Haram destroying churches and killing Christians with impunity. A year ago, Boko Haram kidnapped 275 girls from their local school in Chibok, the Islamic extremist group's largest abduction in a long campaign of kidnappings, and the government of President Goodluck Jonathan seemed slow to respond. Repeated assurances that the girls would be freed evaporated into nothingness Read more

"God has called me to stay here and be his witness. I cannot leave the other Christians behind."
- Eun Hee, Christian martyr from North Korea