Jul 12 2018

Ingo Breuer

Ethiopia and Eritrea Sign Peace Agreement

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20-Year Border War Ends, But Will It Help Christians?

07/10/2018 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Ethiopia and Eritrea have declared an end to their 20-year long border war. The dispute began in 1998, five years after Eritrea declared its independence from Ethiopia. The war raged for several years, before a UN-backed treaty was signed in 2002. Despite this agreement, the two neighboring countries continued to arm troops along their borders, and Ethiopia held towns that were granted to Eritrea. They also had no diplomatic relations or trade during this period.

This began to change in April of this year when Ethiopia’s new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, declared that he wanted to end the conflict. Over the past several months, he has worked toward that goal, culminating in the agreement signed yesterday. This agreement stated that telecommunications would be reopened between the two countries, flights would be allowed again, embassies would be reopened in their respective capitals, and ports would be open to the countries. This agreement will hopefully bring some stability to a very chaotic East Africa.

ICC is concerned, however, that these benefits will not reach the long persecuted Christians of Eritrea. For years, Eritrea has been known to religious freedom advocates as the “North Korea of Africa.” This title is well deserved. Due to their strong central and socialistic government, Eritrea represses all religious freedom in the country. In 2002, they enacted laws that allowed for only four legal religions: Roman Catholic, Eritrean Orthodox, Lutheran, and Sunni Islam. However, these four religions come with significant stipulations.

To join any of these religions, one must make four pledges: 1) Their loyalty is to the government, not the Church, family, or God, 2) They will never be “born again,” 3) They will not carry a Bible outside of their home or Church, and 4) They will turn in any evangelists or missionaries that they encounter. These pledges have forced many Christians to worship in underground churches or flee the country.

Furthermore, the government still holds many Christians in captivity. The rightful patriarch of the Eritrean Orthodox Church, Abune Antonios, has been under house arrest since 2007 when the government arrested him for defying governmental control over the church. Thousands of others are still being held in some of the worst conditions in the world. Their prisons are often metal shipping containers placed in the middle of the desert. They pack as many as eight people into these tiny containers, which have no electricity or plumbing. The metal walls of the cells increase the temperature fluctuations of the desert from extremely hot to freezing cold. These religious freedom issues have yet to be addressed and leave serious concerns.

ICC’s Regional Manager, Nathan Johnson, stated, “We cannot yet rejoice with the rest of the world over this peace agreement. Though it brings hope for many, thousands of others are still suffering under the repressive regime of the Eritrean dictatorship. We hope that this opening of borders will allow Christians to find safety and that Ethiopia is able to help change one of the harshest persecutors in the world.”

For interviews with Nathan Johnson, Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: press

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Jul 12 2018

Ingo Breuer

Christians Prepare for Reconciliation Session Following Mob Attack

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Mob Attacks Christians After Accusing Believer of Insulting Islam

07/12/2018 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) www.persecution.org – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that, on July 7, 2018, a mob of Islamic extremists formed in Egypt’s Minbal village and attacked several Christian homes. Prior to the attack, Islamic hardliners accused a Coptic Christian, Abdo Adel Bebawy, of insulting Islam on Facebook. He was arrested the following day, on July 6. A mob subsequently formed and attacked the Christian community of Minbal.

According to one source quoted by Wataninet, “Last Friday, the village witnessed a group of hardliners (who gathered) on the grounds of accusing a Copt of insulting religion… the militants tried to gather against the Copts in light of the security absence.”

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Jul 10 2018

Ingo Breuer

Yizhuang Campus of Beijing’s Largest House Church Forcibly Barricaded

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Zion Church Targeted as Government Cracks Down on House Churches

07/10/2018 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) www.persecution.org – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on July 5, Yizhuang campus of Zion Church, the largest house church in Beijing, has been blockaded by a group of “thugs” employed by the local authorities. The group prevented church members from entering the third floor where the campus is located and hurled insults and threats at the Christians, calling their faith a cult.

In a prayer request to fellow Christians shared via WeChat (a popular Chinese messaging app) on July 8, Yizhuang campus worshippers detailed the ongoing oppression from the government against their church.

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Jul 09 2018

Ingo Breuer

Twenty Christians Severely Injured in Assault on Prayer Gathering in Northern India

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Radicals Falsely Accuse Christian Victims of Forced Conversions


07/09/2018 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) www.persecution.org – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that last Monday, July 2, 20 Christians were seriously injured in an assault on a prayer meeting in Raikashipur village, located in the Pratapgarh District of India’s Uttar Pradesh State. According to local reports, a mob of 35 Hindu radicals stormed the meeting and beat the group of over 150 Christians gathered for prayer. Following the assault, the village Pradhan (village president) filed multiple false criminal charges against six of the Christian victims.

Ram Kumar Gautam, a 42-year-old Christian, has led prayer meetings in Raikashipur village every Monday for the last five years. On average, 300 people participate in these services in a makeshift shed.

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