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

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 Re: WORLD SITUATION FOR CHRISTIANS

Nepal

Nepal changed from being a Hindu monarchical state to a democratic state in the early 1990s, and a new constitution in 1990 supposedly guaranteed each person the freedom to profess and practice his own religion.

Religion: Hindu 74.82%, Buddhist 16.00%, Muslim 5.00%, Christian 1.89%, Other religions 1.70%, non-Religious/other 0.50%, Sikh 0.06%, and Baha’i 0.03%. Nepal is the world’s only Hindu kingdom. Hinduism is recognized as the national religion, but the constitution guarantees some religious freedom of other faiths. Official religion figures of the 1991 census are suspect with minority religions underrepresented.

Ideological Influence: Hinduism

Head of State: King Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah

Persecution: Proselytizing is banned and carries a three-year jail penalty, but no one thus far has been prosecuted. In the past three years, extremist Hindu organizations from India have set up offices in Katmandu, and aggression against Christians has been on the rise. Militant Hinduists in Nepal aim to drive all Christians from the country.

Missionary Opportunity: Nepal’s church has grown. At the climax of persecution in 1990, there were 200,000 Christians; but by the year 2000, there were 400,000. Some even estimate that figure to be 500,000 in 3,000 or more congregations. Missions have played a remarkably supportive role in improving health, agriculture and education.

 2008/5/23 1:38









 Re: WORLD SITUATION FOR CHRISTIANS

Nigeria

Nigeria has known only one decade of an elected government since it left the British Empire in 1960, until President Olusegun Obasanjo was elected to office in 1999. He was reelected in 2003. Obasanjo has promised reforms, but a culture of greed and corruption runs deep.

Religion: Christian 52.61%, Muslim 41.00%, Traditional ethnic 5.99%, and non- Religious/other 0.40% (Traditional religions are nearer 13 percent of the population, and so both Muslims and Christians are correspondingly lower than the above figures indicate.)

Ideological Influence: Islam

Head of State: President Olusegun Obasanjo, a committed Christian, has wisely and tactfully moved to bring about change while endeavoring to preserve national unity. The former ruling elite have put forth efforts to frustrate and discredit his administration.

Persecution: Islam has been given preferential treatment over Christianity in the past. Shariah Law has been implemented in 12 of Northern Nigeria’s predominately Muslim states. Christian leaders are hopeful Obasanjo’s government will continue to crack down on Muslim fanaticism. In 2005, violence against Christians continued. Believers were killed; churches, Christian schools, homes and businesses were burned and destroyed. The government in the past has turned a blind eye.

Missionary Opportunity: The church in Nigeria is strong, but there is concern over the rise of foreign cults and the mixing of Christianity with the country’s traditional fetish beliefs. Nigeria has become one of the major missionary-sending countries of the developing world.


 2008/5/23 1:39









 Re: WORLD SITUATION FOR CHRISTIANS

North Korea

North Korea is one of the most repressive and isolated regimes in the world and denies every kind of human right to its citizens. The government is believed to possess several nuclear weapons, and multination talks aimed at dismantling Pyongyang’s nuclear program were intermittent in 2005.

Religion: Non-Religious 64.31%, Traditional ethnic 16.00%, Chondogyo 13.50%, Buddhist 4.50%, and Christian 1.69% (The exact number of Christians is unknown. The figure is an estimate.)

Ideological Influence: One-man dictatorship with communist influence. The country’s previous leader, Kim Il Sung, founded an ideology called “Juche,” meaning self-reliance, which is enforced in every aspect of the culture by the ruling elite.

Head of State: Kim Jong Il, the son of deceased leader Kim Il Sung

Persecution: All religions have been harshly repressed. Many thousands of Christians have been murdered since the Korean War. In 1953, there were about 300,000 Christians; however, the number has reduced to a few thousand today. Christians must practice their faith in deep secrecy and are in constant danger.

Missionary Opportunity: There are three churches in North Korea’s capital, Pyongyang, but they are only for show. Many North Koreans have fled to China, some of them Christians, and have been known to return to North Korea to share the gospel. Any North Korean sent back by the Chinese government faces almost certain death. Despite the harsh conditions Christians face in North Korea, the Lord is adding to their numbers daily.

 2008/5/23 1:40









 Re: WORLD SITUATION FOR CHRISTIANS

Oman

Oman’s Sultan Qaboos bin Said declared, “Oman in the past was in darkness...but a new dawn will rise.” While Qaboos was able to increase the country’s wealth, darkness persists: the darkness in the hearts of Oman’s people caught in the clutches of Islam.

Religion: Muslim 92.66%, Hindu 3.00%, Christian 2.54%, Buddhist 1.20%, non-Religious/other 0.40%, and Baha’I 0.20%. Ibadi is the state religion. The Sultan has consistently opposed fanatical Islam since his reign began in 1990.

Ideological Influence: Islam

Head of State: Sultan and Prime Minister Qaboos bin Said al-Said

Persecution: Churches and church activities for the expatriate communities are permitted, but proselytizing Muslims is forbidden.

Missionary Opportunity: The Christian population consists almost entirely of foreign workers, with perhaps no more than 20 indigenous believers. There are four centers where Christians of over 30 denominations or languages meet and where services in many languages are held. The Reformed Church in America has had a good witness in Oman since 1890, when Samuel Zwemer began his work. Their hospital, clinics and missionary workers have been incorporated into the government health services. Christians also have a strong presence in the education and business sectors.

 2008/5/23 1:40









 Re: WORLD SITUATION FOR CHRISTIANS

Pakistan

Pakistan gained independence from Britain in 1947, but has been unstable ever since. Its people have suffered through three wars and endured military regimes and corrupt governments.

Religion: Muslim 96.08%, Christian 2.31%, Hindu 1.50%, Baha’i 0.06%, Other 0.03%, and Traditional ethnic 0.02%. Pakistan is an Islamic republic. Shariah Law has been increasingly applied, even to Christians and Hindus, despite its contravention of the constitution.

Ideological Influence: Islam

Head of State: President General Pervez Musharraf

Persecution: Militant Islamic forces in Pakistan have initiated much violence against Christians. Many Pakistani Christians have been falsely accused of breaking Law 295c—blaspheming Mohammed—a crime punishable by death. Some have even been killed by mobs after being acquitted of such charges. Christians are barred from some professions, and the most menial tasks are reserved for Christians alone. Their testimony in court is half the value of a Muslim’s. Several pastors and Christian evangelists were martyred by Islamic militants in 2004, including Pastor George Masih, who was slain in his home for sharing the gospel with Muslim villagers in Manawala. More kidnappings, amputations and violence occurred in 2005 as Muslim persecution of Christians continued.

Missionary Opportunity: Despite hardships, the church has grown. There are 12 Protestant and six Catholic theological colleges and Bible schools.

 2008/5/23 1:41









 Re: WORLD SITUATION FOR CHRISTIANS

Qatar

Qatar is almost entirely covered by desert, but there are huge oil reserves beneath the ground.

Religion: Muslim 79.43%, Christian 10.47%, Hindu 7.20%, Buddhist 1.80%, non- Religious 0.90%, and Baha’i 0.20%. The strict Wahhabi form of Sunni Islam is the state religion.

Ideological Influence: Islam

Head of State: Amir Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani

Persecution: Proselytism of Muslims is forbidden; however, expatriate believers are allowed to practice their faith. In 2000, the Emir granted land for a Christian compound to be built for the purpose of holding services. Criticism of the Muslim faith or the ruling family is a crime.

Missionary Opportunity: There were no Qatari believers before 1985, but several have come to the Lord outside the country and have suffered much for Him.

 2008/5/23 1:42









 Re: WORLD SITUATION FOR CHRISTIANS

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has enormous oil wealth that produces twothirds of the government’s revenue. King Fahd, who ascended to the throne in 1982, died in August 2005 at the age of 84. His half-brother, Crown Prince Abdallah, was named as his successor.

Religion: Muslim 92.83%, Christian 4.54%, non-Religious/other 1.40%, Hindu 0.60%, Buddhist/Chinese 0.42%, Sikh 0.19%, and Baha’i 0.02%. Saudi Arabia is an Islamic state, committed to the role of custodian of Islam and its holiest sites. A massive Islamic missionary effort is coordinated by the Muslim World League in Mecca. Billions of dollars are spent every year to propagate Islam worldwide.

Ideological Influence: Islam

Head of State: King and Prime Minister Abdallah bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud

Persecution: Saudi Arabia once had a large Christian population until 1,300 years ago. Islam gained control at that time, and all Christians were expelled. It has been reported that public relations firms in the U.S. have been hired by the country to help cover up its poor human rights record. Any person who does mission work or converts a Muslim faces jail, expulsion or execution. Even foreign Christians visiting Saudi Arabia are not allowed to meet together and worship.

Missionary Opportunity: Despite the threat of persecution, the followers of Christ press on, finding innovative ways to meet and encourage each other.

 2008/5/23 1:43









 Re: WORLD SITUATION FOR CHRISTIANS

Somalia

Somalia was taken over in 1969, by dictator Siyaad Barre, who exploited clan warfare within Somalia to retain power. When Barre’s government was toppled in 1991, Somalia could no longer be considered a single country but a collection of fighting ethnic groups and clans. With no central government, the enforcement of strict Muslim law varies from area to area. In late 2005, ongoing political turmoil and threats of armed conflict diminished prospects for long-term peace and stability and posed new dangers to the interim government.

Religion: Muslim 99.95% and Christian 0.05%. Islam is the official religion.

Ideological Influence: Islam

Head of State: President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed

Persecution: Fellowship among believers is dangerous, since persecution is strong in many parts of the country. A number of believers have been martyred, and others have been publicly named as targets for execution.

Missionary Opportunity: In 1991, there were about 500 Somali Catholics and several hundred evangelicals—mostly secret believers and nearly all in the South with few in Somaliland. Some have fled to nearby countries. Believers who remained in the country press on. Distribution of the Somali Bible is only possible in refugee camps and among Somalis outside the country.

 2008/5/23 1:44









 Re: WORLD SITUATION FOR CHRISTIANS

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has experienced violenced since 1983 at the hands of Tamil separatists waging war against the Sinhalese majority. Violence intensified in 2006,though a peace accord remains in effect. Buddhism is the state religion and is protected and promoted.

Religion: Buddhist 71.93%, Hindu 12.00%, Muslim 8.00%, Christian 7.62%

Ideological Influence: Buddhism

Head of State: President Mahinda Rajapaska

Persecution: Although freedom for other religions is assured,there has been discrimination against minority religions through taxation,employment and education. Many Sri Lankans perceive Christianity as a foreign religion and a colonial imposition.



 2008/5/23 1:56









 Re: WORLD SITUATION FOR CHRISTIANS

Sudan

Sudan is Africa’s largest country. The Muslim government of Khartoum in the North has waged a jihad against the mostly Christian South. In January 2005, a peace agreement was signed between the government and the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army, thus ending armed hostilities between them. The peace agreement calls for the immediate sharing of oil wealth and a referendum on Southern independence to be held within six years.

Religion: Muslim 65.00%, Christian 23.19%, Traditional ethnic 10.61%, and non- Religious/other 1.20%

Ideological Influence: Islam

Head of State: President Umar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir

Persecution: Deliberate attempts to eliminate a viable Christian presence have been extreme and have included the destruction of hospitals, schools, churches and Christian villages. Pastors and church leaders have been killed. Men, women and children have been threatened with death or torture if they refuse to convert to Islam. In the midst of these atrocities, the Body of Christ in Sudan is growing. Massive population movements have broken down barriers of customs and languages to bring many to Christ from unreached peoples. In 2005, Sudan’s new Vice President and Commander-in-Chief of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A), Dr. John Garang de Mabior, died in a helicopter crash. This Christian hero’s death leaves the future of a peaceful unified Sudan in doubt.

Missionary Opportunity: Only a low-profile spiritual ministry and aid program have been permitted in Khartoum and a few outlying areas. Many ministries are also taking in help to those displaced in the Nuba Mountains and South Sudan.

 2008/5/23 1:57





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