Volume 91, Issue 46

Wednesday, November 19, 1997



Christian perils

Re: Religious persecution

To the Editor:
It has been stated recently by a few people that we should focus on other current events besides the forum of homosexuality. Here's one for you.

There are many types of persecution happening in this world. Amnesty International can attest to that. Anything from religious, economical, political or even racial. There is just a lot of stuff happening. But I'd like to make you aware of some Christian persecutions happening from different governments, militaries, religious groups and sometimes even "Christians" themselves. Here are some facts and incidences with many more documented (all quoted excerpts taken from Prayer Journal: The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church):

China: The communist government has always had some type of suppression upon the church in China. There have been some allowances. Unfortunately, there are many arrests and unjustified deaths of house church leaders, Catholic priests and evangelical pastors. Since Nov. 1996, the government has targeted the Chinese Catholic underground church. Within the first three months of 1997, over 100 house church leaders have been arrested.

Pakistan: "During the first week of Feb. 1997, 30,000 armed Muslims attacked the Christian village of Shantinagar and neighbouring towns, killing two people and destroying everything in their path. The mob destroyed 1,500 homes, 13 churches, three Salvation Army worship centres, two schools, one medical centre, livestock, water pumps and tanks, Bibles, hymnals..."

Saudi Arabia: Amnesty International has documented at least 350 cases from 1992-1996 of Christian expatriates being arrested, imprisoned without trial, tortured and even killed. In fact, a "Christian Saudi citizen is assumed apostate from Islam and automatically subject to death."

Egypt: Though technically democratic, the Egyptian constitution gives special authority to Islamic law. Christians are discriminated again in education and employment and denied political representation. There have been church burnings and Christians killed by extremist groups. Many non-Muslim women and girls have been abducted, raped and forced to convert to Islam.

Sudan: With the National Islamic Front in power since 1989, there has been a military regime attacking anyone who is not in line with their interpretation of Islam (including Christians, moderate Muslims, etc.). Since then, there have been one and a half million deaths and five million displaced because of house and village burnings. Food is denied. Men are imprisoned, tortured and killed. Children are forced to convert to this view of Islam. Women and children are kidnapped, sold into slavery for as little as $15 and forced to work as slaves and concubines.

There are many other examples in Vietnam (where an American was arrested for the "crime" of distributing pens with crosses on them to orphans) or in Iran (where one pastor was hanged for apostasy and his body wrapped and sent to his blind widow and four children). I'm not trying to blame the Muslims for all these things (as some examples may imply). The majority of Muslims are peaceful people trying to live their faith peacefully. Many of them are on our campus. However, I advocate against ANY extremist groups (whether Islamic, Christian or others) who use violence and force to impose their philosophies. And you thought we had it tough in Canada.

Alvin Lau
Psychology III

To Contact The Opinions Department: gazoped@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1997