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Discussion Forum : News and Current Events : WORLD SITUATION FOR CHRISTIANS

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 Re: WORLD SITUATION FOR CHRISTIANS

Kuwait

Kuwait has Sunni Islam as the state religion. Kuwait has a diverse Christian community and a relatively liberal Islamic regime.

Religion: Muslim 87.43%, Christian 8.17%

Ideological Influence: Islam

Head of State: Amir Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jabir al-Sabah

Persecution: Only Muslims may become citizens. Foreign Christians have the freedom to live and work in Kuwait, but worship must be in a physical location within their own Christian community. Evangelism to Kuwaitis is forbidden. Kuwaitis who convert to Christianity publicly face harassment and arrest. The government discourages Christianity by providing financial incentives for Muslims and has even purchased and burned large quantities of Bibles.

 2008/5/23 1:14









 Re: WORLD SITUATION FOR CHRISTIANS

Laos

Laos was taken over by the communist Pathet Lao in 1975. Lao established a socialist government with close ties to Vietnam. Since 1986, the country has moved toward greater private enterprise and free trade.

Religion: Buddhist 61.05%, Traditional Ethnic 31.20%, Christian 1.85

Ideological Influence: Communism

Head of State: President Lt. Gen. Choummali Saignason

Persecution: In November 2006, 12 pastors and evangelists were arrested and put in prison. Nine of them have since been released, but at press time, three remain in prison. Another Christian, Boon Chan, has been held in prison for nine years. It has become common practice to evict Christians from villages. In April 2007, nine families were evicted from their village by the village leader. The families accepted Christ four years ago and were persecuted until they were thrown out. In May, community leaders in another village rented a truck and forced seven families to move to a Christian village, leaving all their belongings behind. During the month of July, soldiers, police and others killed at least 13 Christians in a crackdown on Hmong villagers accused of stirring rebel dissent.

 2008/5/23 1:14









 Re: WORLD SITUATION FOR CHRISTIANS

Lebanon

Lebanon has a constitution promising freedom of religion; yet, Article 473 of the Penal Code stipulates one who “blasphemes God publicly” will face imprisonment for up to a year. Tension leftover from the 16-year long civil war continues. The major danger faced by Christians in Lebanon is from militant elements within the populace.

Religion: Muslim 59.76%, Christian 31.93%

Ideological Influences: Islam

Head of state: President Emile Lahud

Persecution: Unrest and political turmoil help facilitate an environment where Islamic fundamentalists are able to persecute Christians while authorities look away. The Christian population has decreased due to unrest and persecution.

 2008/5/23 1:15









 Re: WORLD SITUATION FOR CHRISTIANS

Libya

Libya has been ruled single-handedly by Muammar al-Qadhafi, who is perhaps best known for his associations with other radical regimes and terrorist groups. United Nations sanctions against Libya were lifted in 2003; and in 2004, Qadhafi announced he would pursue an agreement with the West by ending his pursuit and development of weapons of mass destruction. Qadhafi is legitimately concerned about the growing threat of Islamists in his country. For this reason, he has attempted to appease Muslims by broadening Islamic law.

Religion: Muslim 96.50%, Christian 3.00%, Buddhist 0.30%, and non- Religious/other 0.20%

Ideological Influence: A military dictatorship with Islamic influence

Head of State: Muammar al-Qadhafi

Persecution: Libyans are off limits for evangelism. A number of expatriates are seeking to reach Libyans, but they are hindered by the country’s elaborate secret police network. Christian literature may enter only through secretive means.

Missionary Opportunity: There are very few Libyan believers, no more than a handful. Almost all Christians are foreign workers, and the government strictly monitors their meetings. There is a limit of one church per denomination per city.

 2008/5/23 1:16









 Re: WORLD SITUATION FOR CHRISTIANS

Malaysia

Malaysia is a federation of 13 states and was formed as a monarchy in 1963. There are two distinct parts of Malaysia: Peninsular (West) Malaysia and East Malaysia.

Religion: Muslim 58.00%, Buddhist/Chinese 21.59%, Christian 9.21%, Hindu 5.00%, non-Religious/other 4.50%, Traditional ethnic 1.20%, Baha’i 0.40%, and Sikh 0.10%. Sunni Islam is the official and favored religion in Peninsular Malaysia, and there is continual pressure to apply the same in East Malaysia, where Islam is a minority.

Ideological Influence: Islam

Head of State: Prime Minister Abdullah bin Ahmad

Persecution: Badawi Malaysia’s constitution guarantees religious freedom, but fundamentalist Muslims do everything in their power to inhibit Christian evangelism. Christian literature is limited only to non-Malays. Ethnic Malays are not allowed to have a Christian place of worship. Governmental efforts to prevent the unauthorized use of religious terms have led to the banning of the Indonesian Bible and several other Christian books containing certain phrases common to Islam. Permission to build new churches is rarely granted, and house churches are strongly discouraged.

Missionary Opportunity: There is a lack of Christian workers, and many smaller churches have no trained pastor. Pray Malaysians studying overseas will come to Christ.

 2008/5/23 1:17









 Re: WORLD SITUATION FOR CHRISTIANS

Maldives

Maldives is a string of 1,200 islands in the Indian Ocean. Islam is the only recognized religion and is strongly promoted. Neither the press nor non-Muslims are allowed freedom of speech. Outsiders are allowed only brief visits to the Maldives,in order to keep their influence on Muslim communities minimal. Ethnicity is linked to religion; Maldivians must be Muslim. squabbling.

Religion: Muslim 99.41% and Christian 0.10%

Ideological Influence: Islam

Head of State: President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom

Persecution: Maldives is one of the least evangelized countries on earth. All citizens must be Muslims. Converts lose citizenship. It is impossible to open any churches. Believers must live their faith in complete secrecy. In 1998,all known christian foreigners were expelled from the country,and all known Maldivian christians were arrested. Maldivian christians are carefully watched. They suffer ostracism,and they cannot openly meet together or read the Scriptures. The Maldives has been called one of the top five worst persecutors in the world.


 2008/5/23 1:34









 Re: WORLD SITUATION FOR CHRISTIANS

Mauritania

Mauritania has endured much hardship with long droughts and ethnic squabbling.

Religion: Muslim 99.84% and Christian 0.16%

Ideological Influence: Islam

Head of State: President Maaouya Ould Sid Ahmed Taya

Persecution: Freedom of religion is nonexistent in this state where Islam has dominated for over 1,000 years. It is illegal for citizens to enter non-Muslim households, and anyone who confesses Christ faces the death penalty under the law. Christian literature and religious radio broadcasts are not allowed. The government takes great pains to keep Christianity away from the people.


 2008/5/23 1:34









 Re: WORLD SITUATION FOR CHRISTIANS

Mindanao (Philippines)

The Muslim minority in Mindanao, Philippines has been trying to establish an independent Islamic state in the south. According to Compass Direct, a 24-year-old Christian man in Zamboanga City, Philippines, was shot and injured by Muslim activists on November 17, 2004. Several Muslim terrorist organizations exist in the Philippines, such as the Abu Sayyaf and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which have been linked to Al-Qaeda. According to police sources, the groups are attracting new converts to Islam in greater numbers than Muslims born into the faith. “Converts are ideal terrorists because they are eager to prove themselves worthy of their new faith,” Chief Superintendent of Police Rodolfo Mendoza recently told a journalist. There are over 200 missionaries working in this area and are doing so at great risk.

 2008/5/23 1:35









 Re: WORLD SITUATION FOR CHRISTIANS

Morocco

Morocco was invaded in the 7th century by Arab armies who brought Islam with them. Morocco’s late king, Hassan II, even claimed to be a direct descendant of the prophet Mohammed.

Religion: Muslim 99.85%, Christian 0.10%, and Jewish 0.05%. Sunni Islam is the state religion. The government is committed to the preservation of Islam as the religion of all Moroccans.

Ideological Influence: Islam

Head of State: King Mohamed VI

Persecution: A Moroccan church consisting of former Muslims cannot be recognized, and other religious groups are tolerated as long as their ministry is confined to expatriate communities. Many have endured ostracism from their families, loss of employment and imprisonment for their faith. However, hearts are being turned toward the gospel of a loving Savior. Disturbed by Islamic terrorism, the king of Morocco wants a Christian influence in the country.

Missionary Opportunity: Missionary work is not permitted, but many foreign Christians are working in secular roles, hoping to win souls to Christ. A Moroccan church is emerging, but at great cost. By the year 2000, about 20 small groups were believed to have existed throughout Morocco. In theory, Bibles may be imported legally, but Arabic versions have been confiscated. However, VOM couriers recently reported that Bibles were well received among the Moroccans they met.

 2008/5/23 1:36









 Re: WORLD SITUATION FOR CHRISTIANS

Myanmar (Burma)

Myanmar (Burma) is well acquainted with struggle. Officially, Buddhism is no longer the state religion, but it is actively promoted by the military regime. All those who advocate improved human rights are harassed or imprisoned.

Religion: Buddhist 82.90%, Christian 8.70%

Ideological Influence: Buddhism/Military dictatorship

Head of State: Sr. Gen. Than Shwe

Persecution: The government of Burma continues to discourage, harass and use other, more severe, forms of persecution on any group or belief they consider harmful to the state. Christianity is high on their list for eradication; all the while the government claims freedom of religion. A secret memo entitled “Program to destroy the Christian religion in Burma” details point by point instructions on how to drive Christians out of the state. It calls for anyone caught evangelizing to be imprisoned. VOM has received widespread reports of churches being burned, forcible conversion of Christians to Buddhism and Christian children barred from schools. Ethnic Christians, in particular, are singled out for repression because of the government’s goal to create a uniform society of one language, one ethnicity and one religion.

 2008/5/23 1:37





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