Christian missionary Kenneth Bae, who has now been imprisoned at a labor camp in North Korea for over a year, has become the longest-serving American detainee there since the end of the Korean War in 1953, activists have said.
"We marked with great sadness the one-year anniversary of Kenneth Bae's detainment," said Ryan Morgan, regional manager for East Asia for International Christian Concern (ICC).
"Kenneth has now been held longer by the North Korean regime than any other known U.S. citizen," Morgan added to BosNewsLife in a statement. "Our prayers are with his family during this incredibly difficult time and we again renew our call for his release to the North Korean authorities." more >>
Pastor Saeed Abedini is in great danger after he was abruptly transferred from Evin Prison in Tehran to Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj where he will be held in a ward with violent criminals, the American Center for Law and Justice revealed, urging President Barack Obama to take immediate diplomatic action to save his life.
"This new and extremely dangerous development requires the full attention and focus of President Obama. He must speak out now – directly and forcefully – to save Pastor Saeed's life. Pastor Saeed's life is in grave danger," the ACLJ, which represents his wife and two children in the U.S., said in a statement on Monday.
Abedini, a U.S. citizen who was arrested over a year ago and sentenced to eight years in prison because of his Christian faith, had been serving his time in Evin Prison, with other political prisoners. An international campaign calling for his release has also been backed by Obama, who previously spoke with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the issue. more >>
Christians around the world will observe the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP) either this Sunday or on Nov. 10, but those being persecuted for their faith want other believers to not just pray for them, but pray with them.
Jerry Dykstra, director of media relations for Open Doors USA, told The Christian Post that prayer is the "number one request" of believers in persecuted nations, and even those who are among the persecuted are praying for Christians in other nations.
Christians in Nigeria, for example, pray for other persecuted believers in the Middle East, said Dykstra. A century ago about 20 percent of the population in North Africa and the Middle East was Christian, according to Open Doors, but Christ-followers now make up only four percent of the population there due to persecution. more >>
More than 30 bodies of Christian civilians have been uncovered in mass graves in the Syrian city of Sadad, which was destroyed in an attack by Islamic militants, with the Syrian Orthodox Archbishop describing the incident as "the most serious and biggest massacre" of Christians in the past two years and a half.
A total of 45 Christians were reported to have been killed in the small town halfway between Homs and Damascus, after Islamist militants apparently invaded on Oct. 21. Fides News Agency reported that representatives of the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate and relatives of the victims found the mass graves when they returned home, and later provided a proper burial for their dead relatives and friends.
"45 innocent civilians were martyred for no reason, and among them several women and children, many thrown into mass graves. Other civilians were threatened and terrorized. 30 were wounded and 10 are still missing," explained Archbishop Selwanos Boutros Alnemeh, Syriac Orthodox Metropolitan of Homs and Hama. more >>
President Barack Obama has a real opportunity to speak out for Christian and religious persecution as well as human rights when he meets with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Friday afternoon at the White House, said the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).
"As you know, over the past year Iraq has experienced the worst sectarian violence since 2008, with the frequency and scope of such violence increasing. This violence is undermining Iraq's progress and threatening its people's safety, particularly the majority Shi'a Muslim population, as well as its smallest religious minority communities, including Christians and Yezidis," USCIRF Chairman Robert P. George said in his letter to Obama.
Major cities across Iraq have been plagued by relentless violence, often in the form of explosives. In the past year, and the violence has spread in the last few months to the northern regions of the country, which had previously been considered a place of refuge for Christians and other religious minorities. more >>
An Eritrean Christian woman who was tortured in prison has revealed that her faith helped her get through the darkest of times, describing the experience as a "honeymoon with Jesus."
"When we visited Gabriella at home, she stood up from her seat to welcome us. We immediately saw how much weight she had lost in prison. We could see that she had suffered much. But despite the weakness, Gabrielle looked to us like a soldier who has returned from war victorious. Her joy was very visible and quite overwhelming. We asked her to tell us what she had gone through. Instead of giving a litany of woes, anger or fear, Gabrielle simply said, 'It was a honeymoon with Jesus!'" shared a group of pastors who visited the woman, named only as "Gabrielle," according to a press release shared by persecution watchdog group Open Doors.
Gabrielle, along with other Christians, was jailed for participating in an underground church. While the government officially grants religious freedom to some religious groups, such as the Roman Catholic Church, the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Church (which is not recognized by the Orthodox papacy), the Evangelical Lutheran Church and Sunni Islam, are deemed illegal. Christian Solidarity Worldwide has said that as many as 2,000-3,000 Protestant Christians have been jailed for their beliefs. more >>