Eritrean Government Arrests 100 Christians
Eritrea’s thin veneer of religious freedom was uncovered today when the government arrested 100 Christians in an attempt to crackdown on unapproved religious denominations. Though Eritrea does allow four denominations to practice their faith they keep a close control on them. For those Christians that meet in their homes or do not belong to the approved denominations the punishment is extremely high. These Christians are rounded up and stuffed into storage containers without air ventilation and with little food. Eritrea frequently commits human rights violations and according to Open Doors is the 10th harshest persecutor of Christians in the world.
06/02/2017 Eritrea (Mission Network News) – The country of Eritrea is the 10th harshest persecutor of Christians in the world, according to Open Doors’ World Watch List. And last month, another blow was struck on religious freedom in the country.
Nearly 100 Christians were arrested as the paranoid Eritrean government cracks down on unapproved churches outside the four approved religious denominations. The arrests resulted from door-to-door interrogations, accusations from neighbors, and even the disruption of a post-wedding gathering.
Open Doors USA’s Emily Fuentes explains, “In Eritrea, the situation at surface level would seem like there’s religious freedom. They allow for certain denominations of Christians to meet openly…. So, [for example], the Orthodox churches are totally okay in Eritrea. The problem is, anyone who is not part of a particular denomination that is approved by the government — and there’s only four — if they meet in their homes, if they do anything, it’s considered a crime.”
The four allowed religious denominations in the country are Sunni Islam, Orthodox Christian, Catholic Christian, and Evangelical Lutheran. But the Eritrean government still seeks to have a vice grip of control over even the approved denominations.