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Persecution News

NORTH KOREA'S FOOD FIGHT: EMPTY STOMACHS AND FULL HEARTS

Chilled octopus from the Namhae Tongyeong sea, garnished with citrus soy sauce. Beef from South Korea’s indigenous Hanwoo cattle. Sea bream and steamed crab. Mango mousse.

What do these things have in common? They were all on the menu when Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, and Moon Jae-in, the President of South Korea, had their historic first meeting in April last year.


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"Prayer and giving money often feels like it is too easy, but it's not! It is making a huge difference in places like this"
- Lydia, Open Doors representative visiting Erbil, Iraq
 
  • The recent election period highlights the long term risk to the Christian community in Nigeria

    18 February 2019 -

    The recent election period highlights the long term risk to the Christian community in Nigeria. The large number of Christians in Nigeria makes their votes a powerful political force. At election time, Christians are attacked ahead of the polls and also afterwards, if the outcome is not considered to be favourable.

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  • Nigeria: Leah Sharibu still captive one year on

    18 February 2019 -

    Tomorrow (Tuesday 19 February) marks one year since the capture of fifteen-year-old Nigerian schoolgirl Leah Sharibu from her school in Dapchi. On 19 February 2018, Leah Sharibu was abducted along with over 100 of her classmates by Boko Haram. They were taken from the Government Girls Science and Technical College in Nigeria’s north-eastern town of Dapchi, in Yobe state. While others were released within a month, Leah, the only Christian in the group, remains in captivity because she has refused to deny her faith. Leah's mother, Rebecca Sharibu, has called on the Nigerian government to expedite her release. 

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  • As Nigerians go to the polls, will the election bring security for Christians?

    15 February 2019 -

    With Nigeria’s presidential elections looming, Nigerian Christians are wondering whether the outcome will keep them safe from violent persecution.  Nigerian pastor, Rev. Gideon Para-Mallam, from the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students, told Open Doors: “Many Christians are very disappointed with Buhari’s administration when it comes to security for all and especially Christians in the Middle Belt, North East and North West.”

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  • Valentine’s Day: A story of love amid persecution

    13 February 2019 -

    Though the real story behind the legend is murky, Saint Valentine is remembered as a priest in third century Rome who was martyred for supporting persecuted Christians and for performing secret weddings. To celebrate Valentine’s Day, we are sharing a story of courageous love amid suffering from the persecuted church.

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  • Violence drives Nigeria up to number 12 on the World Watch List

    12 February 2019 -

    Nigeria is joint top (tied with Pakistan) for the place where Christians experience the highest levels of violent persecution. It has risen two places to number 12 on this year’s World Watch List.

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  • Malaysia: Pastor Raymond Koh’s abduction two years on

    12 February 2019 -

    On 13 February 2017, Raymond Koh was abducted. The attack was caught on CCTV. At least ten men in black SUVs blocked a major road during broad daylight; they then forced Raymond out of his car and into theirs. The whole operation took less than a minute. It was executed with such precision that many believe it was a coordinated attack by trained individuals.

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  • Seojun* from North Korea: 'God is working now through your prayer and support'

    05 February 2019 -

    With the 1990s famine hitting North Koreans hard, Seojun* heard that it might be possible to get food from China. Desperate and with nothing to lose, he decided to cross the Tumen River, enter China and bring back food for his family. Seventeen-year-old Seojun crossed the frozen river over the border with no belongings – only his school uniform and a winter jacket. There, he came across an Open Doors safe house and is now a pastor in South Korea. Your prayers and support are helping our brothers and sisters in North Korea to survive - thank you. 

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  • Nari* from North Korea: 'The God my grandmother prayed to saved me'

    04 February 2019 -

    Nari* and her sister were trafficked when they tried to cross the border into China to escape North Korea. After 13 long years in China, trapped in an abusive marriage, Nari escaped to South Korea, where she is now a citizen, attends church and serves other North Korean refugees.

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  • Chinese New Year: Christians fear increasing persecution

    01 February 2019 -

    On 5 February, billions of people across China will celebrate the Chinese New Year. Lanterns, dumplings and celebrations will herald the year of the pig – a year of wealth and fortune. But for Christians in China, the new year will bring great scrutiny and persecution.

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  • Asia Bibi's acquittal upheld

    29 January 2019 -

    The Supreme Court has upheld its decision to acquit Asia Bibi. She was found not guilty of blasphemy in October 2018 but a challenge was launched by religious hardliners who held violent protests. But praise God, today (29 January) the hard liners lost their appeal and Asia is finally free.

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  • The blasphemy case against Asia Bibi is back in court

    28 January 2019 -

    Pakistan’s Supreme Court are deciding whether they will allow an appeal against Asia’s acquittal. If the court rules in favour of the appeal then Asia Bibi’s future and safety will be again thrown into doubt.

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  • Philippines bomb attack claims many victims

    28 January 2019 -

    At least 20 Christians have been killed and 81 wounded in a bomb attack on a church in Jolo, Sulu, Southern Philippines. According to local media, there were two explosions early in the morning on Sunday 27 January. The first explosion went off inside the church while the service was ongoing. The second explosion went off outside the Jolo Cathedral while the government forces were responding. Casualties include civilians, soldiers and a policeman.

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  • Indonesia: Ahok, former governor of Jakarta, released early from prison

    24 January 2019 -

    Ahok, a Christian and former governor of Jakarta in Indonesia, has been released early from prison! He was sentenced to two years in prison after a politically-motivated attack during his re-election campaign. 

    In May 2017, the former governor of Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaya Purnama – fondly known as Ahok – was accused of blasphemy and sentenced to two years in jail. He is due to be released today.

    In a letter to his supporters this week, Ahok asked people not to hold a parade to welcome him for the sake of public order, or to camp out in front of the prison and said, “I am very thankful to God for allowing me to spend time in prison.”

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  • An update from Hea Woo, who planted a church in a North Korean labour camp

    18 January 2019 -

    "I used to build a secret church service at the smelly toilet of the prison camp, where even the prison guard did not want to come and check. Now I can worship and sing the songs loudly in the open church buildings. I did not have access to a Bible in North Korea, but now I can open my Bible whenever I want. I could not have Christian fellowship with other believers in North Korea, or say the name of Jesus Christ, but I attended the prayer service and Christian fellowship meeting almost every day. I cried out to God to use me to tell my story to people outside the prison camp, and now I travel and share the love of God to believers all around the world. I was tortured and beaten with sticks, but now my heavenly prizes are so many. I have so many reasons to give thanks to God."

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  • Foreign Secretary at World Watch List launch: Freedom to worship is the ‘litmus test of a free society’

    17 January 2019 -

    Freedom to worship is the ‘litmus test of a free society’ according to Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who spoke at the launch of the 2019 Open Doors World Watch List in Parliament, where over 100 parliamentarians were represented. In a message to Open Doors supporters, he said, “Thank you for the fantastic work you are doing to highlight the fact that nearly a quarter of a billion Christians around the world are facing persecution for their faith.”  Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry also attended the launch, saying, “It’s a pleasure to be here at the launch of the World Watch List report 2019. I read it with some concern to find out that, for the fifth year running, persecution of Christians has increased once more.”

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  • How did the gospel first reach North Korea?

    16 January 2019 -

    Amongst North Korea’s 22 million citizens, we believe there are around 300,000 Christians. How did the gospel first arrive here? The story is full of the miraculous. And it starts in Wales.

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  • India enters the top ten on the 2019 World Watch List for the first time

    16 January 2019 -

    For the first time ever, India has entered the top ten of the World Watch List, at number 10. The BJP-led government promotes an extremist militant Hindu message. To put it simply, the message is that to be Indian, you have to be Hindu. Eight states out of 29 have passed ‘anti-conversion’ laws, which include such draconian regulations as requiring anyone who wants to change religion to give a month’s notice to local officials, and to submit to a government interview.

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  • China rises 16 places on the World Watch List as authoritarianism returns

    16 January 2019 -

    One of the big stories of this year’s World Watch List is the rise of China, which has risen 16 places to number 27 on this year’s list. China has been increasingly clamping down on Christianity. New Regulations for Religious Affairs came into force on 1 February 2018, and since then, a focus on prohibiting children and youth from hearing religious teaching has seen nursery and Sunday schools closed down, summer camps banned, and churches forced to place signs at the entrance forbidding anyone under 18 to enter. Chinese churches have been pressured to fly the national flag higher than the cross, sing the national anthem before services and, in one area, a few Roman Catholic churches were told to replace pictures of Jesus with pictures of President Xi.

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  • Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt welcomes World Watch List report ahead of Parliamentary launch

    16 January 2019 -

    Open Doors presents the 2019 World Watch List in Parliament at 4pm today, giving Parliamentarians information on the 50 countries where Christians face the most extreme persecution, and how they can support international freedom of religion or belief.

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  • World Watch List 2019 Press Release

    16 January 2019 -

    Asia is the new hotbed of persecution for Christians according to figures published today (16 January 2019) in the Open Doors World Watch List 2019. These figures show that persecution in Asia has risen sharply over the last five years with one in three Asian Christians now suffering high levels of persecution. New laws in China (up 16 places to 27) seek to control all expression of religion. Open Doors UK and Ireland CEO Henrietta Blyth said: “Our research uncovers a shocking increase in the persecution of Christians globally. In China our figures indicate persecution is the worst it's been in more than a decade – alarmingly, some church leaders are saying it’s the worst since the Cultural Revolution ended in 1976. Worldwide, our data reveals that 13.9 per cent more Christians are experiencing high levels of persecution than last year. That’s 30 million more people.”

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  • Trauma care for Christians who were imprisoned in Iran

    14 January 2019 -

    Over 30 ex-prisoners for their faith from Iran have received trauma-care training in Turkey, thanks to your prayers and support. “It was a joy for me to be part of the training,” says former house church leader Wahid, who now pastors a church of 200. “As a former prisoner, I have often felt alone, and thought nobody cared about me. This training proved me wrong."

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  • 'My father would kill me' - Secretly following Jesus in Morocco

    04 January 2019 -

    “I am so afraid that my parents will find out. My father would kill me.” These are the words of Nadeen*, a young secret believer from Morocco. When she says her father would kill her if he found out about her hidden faith, that isn’t just a turn of phrase. She’s being deadly serious.

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  • The World Watch What? Everything you need to know about the World Watch List

    02 January 2019 -

    The World Watch List is Open Doors’ annual ranking of the 50 countries where Christians face the most extreme persecution. Here’s everything you need to know about the World Watch List.

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  • North Korea's food fight: Empty stomachs and full hearts

    26 December 2018 -

    Chilled octopus from the Namhae Tongyeong sea, garnished with citrus soy sauce. Beef from South Korea’s indigenous Hanwoo cattle. Sea bream and steamed crab. Mango mousse. What do these things have in common? They were all on the menu when Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, and Moon Jae-in, the President of South Korea, had their historic first meeting in April last year. It was the first time the leader of North Korea and the leader of South Korea had met in over a decade, and the food they ate together was full of symbolism. There were dishes from the two leaders’ childhoods, noodles specially imported from Pyongyang, and the mango mousse even had a map of a united Korea on it. But this meal is something that ordinary North Koreans can only dream about.

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  • Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt speaks up for persecuted Christians

    26 December 2018 -

    Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt ordered a review into the plight of persecuted Christians and how much help they get from the UK. The review will be led by the Bishop of Truro and hopes to help over 215 million Christians around the world who are persecuted for their faith. "So often, the persecution of Christians is a telling early warning sign of the persecution of every minority," said Jeremy Hunt. He added that the UK "must do more". Open Doors has welcomed this news, our CEO, Henrietta Blyth said: "I am delighted that this review will look into the persecution of Christians."

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"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