- (Photo: Reuters)
An article published in the latest issue of The New American magazine, Jan. 21, brings attention to the plight of the Christians in Egypt and in North Korea, saying they are under intense attack in both countries.
Coptic Christians represent more than 15 percent of the Egyptian population and have been the victims of violent attacks and discrimination for decades.
Recently, a court in Egypt sentenced a widow and her seven children to up to 15 years in prison for converting from Islam to Christianity.
The article also refers to Samuel Tadros of the Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom, who said that arrests and jails terms may become the new trend under the new government in Egypt, which Tadros describes as "intensely sharia-influenced."
Tadros says also that the recently adopted constitution is "a real disaster in terms of religious freedom."
For Tadros persecution will become more prevalent and "It will be much harder for people to return to Christianity."
A similar position is shared by Jordan Sekulow, the Executive Director of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ). Sekulow, who has taken up the cases of imprisoned Christians in Islamic countries, believes that the case of the imprisoned mother and her family highlights the growing problem of religious intolerance in the Muslim world.
For Sekulow, "Egypt has no respect for international law or religious liberty."
The magazine refers also to the recent destruction of the social service building of a church in a village southwest of Cairo, by a mob of Muslims.
As imams of mosques in surrounding villages alleged that the Christians were "building a church," the Muslims rushed to the site, armed with hammers and chanting Islamic slogans, demolished the building. By the time the security forces arrived, the building was razed to the ground.
No one was arrested or held responsible for the attack.
As for the persecution of Christians in North Korea, the article in "The New American" refers to Open Doors USA, who reported in mid-January the killing of two North Korean Christians who had traveled to China for Bible training.
Both men had recently converted into Christianity.
According to Open Doors, one of the two North Koreans "was terribly tortured because of his faith."
North Korea tops the list of the 50 countries Open Doors monitors for religious persecution. According to the organization, even possessing a Bible in North Korea is enough to be killed or sent to a concentration camp for life.
Reflecting on the dire conditions imposed on Christians in his home country, a North Korean refugee says there is no religious freedom and people are killed if they believe in Jesus. For the authorities "Kim Jong-Un is a god and there cannot be any god besides him."