From a population of 30 million, there are only a few thousand Christians in Yemen.
Christians in Yemen usually keep their faith secret, because if they are discovered then they could face the death penalty. Leaving Islam is forbidden, and all Yemenis are considered Muslims by the state.
It’s not just the authorities who persecute Christians. Islamic militant groups threaten Christians from a Muslim background with death, and tribes may kill or banish anybody converting to Christianity.
The ongoing war, humanitarian crisis and Covid-19 pandemic in Yemen are impacting all citizens, but Christians are additionally vulnerable because emergency relief is mostly distributed through Islamic organisations and local mosques. These are believed to discriminate against anybody who is not considered to be a devout Muslim. There are accounts of Yemeni Christians being refused treatment at under-resourced hospitals.
“When I came to faith, I thought I was the only believer in Yemen.”Mohammad
Mohammad (not his real name) became a Christian after unexpectedly coming across a Bible in a second-hand shop. So few Christians can reveal their faith that it took a long time before Mohammad met any other believers.
“When I came to faith, I thought I was the only believer in Yemen,” Mohammad remembers. “For a long time, I didn’t know any other Yemeni Christians. Now I know many, and there are many more like us.”
His wife Alima (name changed) later also gave her life to Jesus, and they run Bible studies together – but they dress in traditional Muslim clothing. They can’t reveal to anybody that they are believers, unless they trust them deeply. The consequence could be death.
Please keep praying for your brothers and sisters in Yemen. Your prayers make an enormous difference to those following Jesus no matter the cost.
Open Doors supports the body of Christ on the Arabian Peninsula through organising prayer, distributing Scripture resources and training believers and pastors.
Lord God, we pray for Your protection over Your children in Yemen. We ask that You would show them that their true identity is not in their tribe, community or nationality but, first and foremost, in Jesus. Please bring peace and stability to the country, and ensure Your children can survive the ongoing humanitarian crisis. Build a resilient church, we pray. Amen.
Your support helps persecuted Christians continue to courageously follow Jesus.
Together, we can reach those where persecution hits hardest.