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ICC Note: The Christians who were killed for their faith on April 2 in Garissa, Kenya are martyrs for Christ and should be considered as such. African Christians today face persecution at historic proportions that reminds us of the kind that followers of Christ faced in the first-century Roman world. In Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, northern Nigeria, Niger, Mali and other places, the primary threats to Christians come from extremist Islam. And in Eritrea, Christians face persecution perpetrated by a paranoid authoritarian state. Stories like Garissa are happening all over the continent and remind us to pray for our persecuted African brothers and sisters while also standing with them, supporting them and advocating for them.

By Robert Atuhairwe

6/4/15 Garissa, Kenya (AllAfrica) – As the world converges at Namugongo shrines to commemorate the annual Uganda Martyrs day, an overarching new threat pervades the believers’ world.

Politically, it is referred to as terrorism, but from a religious perspective, it is persecution. The ultimate persecution one can suffer is to die for their faith.

The whole story of the Uganda martyrs is lent credence and immortality because it cost the young converts their lives. They died so the faith may live on. They gave it a foundation with their eternal will, emulating the persecution and death of Jesus Christ who didn’t cower under torture by the Romans.

One may ask how many modern believers would hand down their lives under similar circumstances. Pilgrims are flocking Namugongo from all over the region, most notable being those who trek hundreds of miles to reach the place.

That devotion and willingness to subject themselves to such suffering is exemplary, although not exactly comparable to what Charles Lwanga and comrades went through. But it is a good sign that not all believers like it the easy way.

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