Persecuted Christians Observe Christmas Eve
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY – At least hundreds of Christians imprisoned for their faith in Eritrea, China and Vietnam and “thousands incarcerated in North Korea’s network of concentration camps” celebrated Christmas Eve behind bars, most likely in secret, Saturday, December 24, religious rights monitors suggested.
And on Sunday, December 25, “multitudes of believers in Asia, Cuba, Belarus, Iran and the Arab world will celebrate the birth of the Savior [Jesus, God’s Son] in quiet, secret fellowships, risking persecution as they do every week,” said Elizabeth Kendal, Principal Researcher and Writer of the World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission (RLC).
Kendal also said the RLC, which monitors religious persecution, noted that “Christians living in jihad zones risk being targeted in their churches this Christmas.”
In a statement to BosNewsLife, Kendal warned that “the most vulnerable regions for church bombings this year are
The most vulnerable regions for church bombings this year are
“In 2000 a plot to wreak massive terror over Christmas in
“On Christmas night 2002, three children were killed and 13 were injured when Islamic militants threw grenades into a special Christmas service for children in the Presbyterian chapel in Chianwali [in the
A BosNewsLife team investigating the plight of persecuted Christians in
In the former
All governments of countries where persecution has been reported have strongly denied religious rights abuses, saying people are free to practice their religion within local laws. However especially evangelical Christians prefer to worship without government interference and have stressed the Bible obliges them to spread the Gospel.
Conflict has also forced most Christian Palestinians to leave the area of
In a message to supporters Kendal said that Christians should realize they are part of “one body in Christ. So in our joy, let’s not neglect to lift our needy, threatened brothers and sisters before the Lord this Christmas.”
An estimated 200 million Christians worldwide “suffer interrogation, arrest and even death for their faith in Christ,” with another 200 to 400 million facing discrimination and alienation, according to Christian rights group Open Doors. (With Stefan J. Bos at BosNewsLife News Center in Budapest, Vishal Arora in New Delhi and Santosh Digal in Manila).