SANTA ANA, Calif., April 23, 2012 /Christian Newswire
/ — The purge of centuries-old Christian communities in Middle East countries like Iraq and Iran and the dramatic increase of persecution in African countries like Egypt and Nigeria is putting Christians under unprecedented siege.
Recent headlines tell just part of the story: “Powerful Bomb Kills 38 near Churches in Nigeria,” “Salifists Celebrate Death of Coptic Pope in Egypt” and “Youcef Nadarkhani Spends 35th Birthday Behind Bars.”
Last month the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) included Egypt, Eritrea, Iraq, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Sudan among 16 countries on its “Countries of Particular Concern” list. The report said that “across the global landscape, the pivotal human right of religious freedom was under escalating attack.”
“We cannot idly stand by while there are major human rights violations in places such as Egypt and Nigeria,” says Open Doors USA President/CEO Dr. Carl Moeller. “Already thousands have fled Islamic terrorism in those countries. We need to speak out now with a renewed urgency. We must fight for freedom of religion for all imperiled faith groups.”
Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, director of Interfaith Affairs for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says “the Christians in the Middle East have become the new Jews of our times. We call on all people of faith, and all Americans, to speak up for the embattled Christians in the Middle East and Africa, and against the disturbing pattern of violence against other faiths and places of worship.”
Moeller and Adlerstein will join a panel of speakers addressing the issue of the embattled Christian communities during a press conference on Thursday, May 3, at 10 a.m. at the National Press Club, Bloomberg Room. Speakers include Nina Shea of the Hudson Institute and Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
Nearly 70 percent of the world’s 6.8 billion people live in countries with little or no freedom of religion. Open Doors is an organization that for over five decades has covertly come along side Christians in 60 of those restrictive and dangerous countries, campaigning for their freedom to believe, from the gulags in North Korea to the halls of Congress. To partner with Open Doors USA, call toll free at 888-5-BIBLE-5 (888-524-2535) or go to www.OpenDoorsUSA.org.