Government Official Threatens Christians with Death as “Wave” of Religious Persecution Sweeps Mexico
International Christian Concern Launches Campaign to Counter Persecution of Religious Minorities across Country
06/02/2015 Washington D.C., (International Christian Concern) –International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that a group of Christians in Hidalgo State, Mexico, were allegedly issued death threats in late April by a local government representative. The threats were reportedly made by “Community Delegate” (Delagado La Communidad), Mr. Jesus Dominguez Hernandez, who issued the threats after representatives of the Christian community of Chichiltepec village attempted to meet with his office to discuss religious persecution taking place in Hidalgo State.
According to Impulso 18, a Mexican human rights organization, Mr. Hernandez became “infuriated” during a meeting with representatives on April 24 and threatened to kill all of the Christians present. The threats appear to be only the latest in a series of incidents targeting the Christian minority in Chichiltepec village. On April 29, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW-UK), a UK based advocacy group, reported that Mr. Hernandez had previously pressured two members of the same Christian community to renounce their faith. When they refused, cousins Casto Hernandez and Juan Placido were jailed for nearly 30 hours before being released and told to vacate their homes. Casto Hernandez told CSW-UK “because of the delegate’s intolerance, he would not allow us to preach the word of God. He imprisoned me after he tried to force me to renounce my faith in writing but I would not do it.”
Extensive research and reporting conducted by CSW-UK and a recent field visit by ICC have uncovered large numbers of cases of religious persecution among rural indigenous communities in Mexico that are often directed towards the Protestant minority. ICC conservatively estimates that more than 70 open cases of religious persecution against minority Christian communities, each involving between 20-100 victims, currently exist in just Chiapas, Hidalgo, Oaxaca, Puebla and Guerrero. In most cases local authorities appear unwilling to thoroughly address the issue and are occasionally directly complicit in religiously based discrimination.
On June 1st, ICC launched a campaign aimed at raising awareness of the issue and called on supporters to contact the Mexican government to voice their concerns. Included in the campaign is a petition “calling for the immediate end to violence against and displacement of religious minorities in Mexico.” The petition can be found here.
Jennifer Salcido, ICC’s Advocacy Manager, said, “It is time that the Mexican government provide justice and protection for victims of religious persecution while dealing with local and/or state officials that are part of the problem. A slow wave of religious persecution has been sweeping across Mexico, and the culture of corruption and lack of accountability that surrounds religious freedom cases needs to end. A free society cannot flourish when religious persecution exists, and this issue has gone on for far too long while the world has looked the other way. Every citizen of Mexico has a right to practice their faith without the fear of being driven from their homes simply because of what they believe.”
For interviews, please contact Jennifer Salcido at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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