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07/18/2019 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Imagine you’re sitting in church. The service proceeds as it normally does, with your pastor asking the congre­gation to bow their heads in prayer. As you close your eyes, a loud, pounding noise from behind steals your attention.

Suddenly, a mob of men bursts through the doors of the church, shouting obscenities and beating anyone within reach. As they move toward the pulpit, you sit there, frozen by fear.

You then notice two police officers enter the church. Horrified, you realize that these officers are not there to protect you. Instead, they seem to be supporting the men terroriz­ing your community.

When the mob reaches your pastor, they begin beating him and shouting that he has been forcing people to convert to Christianity. As if on cue, the officers move in and arrest the now semi-conscious pastor. You remain rooted to your seat as the mob and police drag your pastor from the church.

When the mob finally leaves, a silence descends over the stunned congregation. Dazed and confused, your neighbor turns to you and asks, “What do we do now?”

While the above scenario is fictional, it is based on an all-too-common experience for thousands of Christians in India. In just the last five years, Christian persecution in India has skyrocketed. In 2018 alone, the Evangelical Fellowship of India documented more than 320 violent attacks on the Christian community, including false arrests, physical assaults, and even murders.

For many, these incidents of persecution are both a surreal and confusing experience. In most cases, victims are left with little knowl­edge about what they can or should do in the aftermath of an attack.

In the face of this growing threat, ICC has stepped in to provide Indian Christians with what we call Persecution Preparedness Trainings. These six-part trainings are designed to help Christians avoid, mitigate, and better manage instances of persecution.

During these trainings, we teach Christian leaders their constitutional rights as Indian citizens, how to document and report instanc­es of persecution, and strategies for how to avoid persecution. Our goal is to help these Christians become their own best advocates when facing persecution.

Stay tuned for Part 2, coming tomorrow.

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