Korea is still the worst place to be a Christian
Dan Wooding, Founder of ASSIST News Service, who has reported from inside of
FOREST, CA (July 4, 2016) – The figures are staggering. According to
Open Doors, some 100 million Christians in over 60 countries are being
persecuted for their faith.
Doors, which was first begun by Dutch-born Christian, Brother Andrew, author of
the best-seller, “God’s Smuggler,” and for whom I worked as a writer seven
years, has revealed that North Korea has once again headed its World Watch List
for the 14th consecutive year.
Jong-un has continued to consolidate his power, and no changes or improvements
have been seen over the past year,” said a statement on their website (https://www.opendoorsusa.org).
“Ideology again trumped everything as could be seen in the celebration of the
ruling Korean Workers Party’s 70th anniversary in October 2015.
Korea remains an opaque state and it is difficult to make sense of most of the
news pouring out of the country. This is even truer when it comes to topics like
human rights or the situation of the Christian minority. Christianity is not
only seen as ‘opium for the people,’ as is normal for all communist states, it
is also seen as deeply Western and despicable.
try to hide their faith as far as possible to avoid arrest and being sent to
labor camps with horrific conditions. Thus, one’s Christian faith usually
remains a well-protected secret, and most parents refrain from introducing their
children to the Christian faith in order to make sure that nothing slips their
tongue when they are asked.”
been to North Korea, I can echo these comments. I’ve also reported from Iraq,
the country which is now second on the World Watch List.
has been a long tradition of Christians living in Iraqi cities like Baghdad and
Mosul,” said the statement from Open Doors. “Christians have lived in Iraq for
two millennia but are currently on the verge of extinction. Iraq has suffered
from years of structural uncertainty, conflict and instability under a
government incapable of enforcing the rule of law and providing a minimum of
is divided into two parts, the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in the north and
the large remaining Arab part. Kurds and Arabs have their own languages and
culture. Most of Iraq’s oil resources are found near Kirkuk and Mosul, the
border areas between the Kurdish region and Arab Iraq, and these are amongst the
most violent places of Iraq. Christians are caught here in the crossfire of two
different battles: one for a Kurdish autonomous country and one for a religious
cleansing of Iraq by Islamic terrorist groups who wish to make the country
purely Islamic. On the other hand, amidst the current crisis, there are also
sparks of hope as opportunities arise for churches to reach out to
of this list of shame is Eritrea, who entered the World Watch List top 50 in
2002, and in 2004 the country jumped into the top 20.
Eritrean regime is absolutely authoritarian and intolerant towards any form of
association, dissent, and free expression,” says Open Doors. “The government’s
attempt to control all religious institutions culminated in the deposing of the
Eritrean Orthodox Church Patriarch who has been under house arrest since 2007.
Eritrea has also consistently supported the rise and spread of radical Islam in
the Horn of Africa.
the international context, it is also important to take note of the fact that
Eritrea is one of the two African Countries designated as a ‘Country of
Particular Concern’ (CPC) by the US State Department because of severe
violations of freedom of religion. The situation in Eritrea is also contributing
to the global refugee crisis.”
Doors says that one Eritrean refugee stated that “the country is almost without
its youth - some of them are in the SAWA Defense Training Center and others are
escaping the regime through every possible outlet. And the country has become
uninhabitable.” That is why Robert P. George and Thomas J. Reese from USCIRF
ask: “Should Eritrea’s track record on human rights crimes and religious freedom
warrant a referral to the International Criminal Court at The Hague?
have worked in the field of Christian persecution for many years now, and I can
say that, without question, things are getting worse by the day for our brothers
and sisters around the world, particularly since the rise of Islamic State
(ISIS) in the Middle East, and Boko Haram in Nigeria, the land of my birth.
these past few days, we at the ASSIST News Service have been conducting what we
have called our ASSIST-A-Thon, to raise funds to allow us to keep bringing you
stories about our persecuted friends, who desperately need our media voice to
let the world know about their plight.
of you have generously donated to this effort, but we are still a long way from
the $25,000 that we need to keep our work on track. I am sure you realize that
we have many expenses to pay for our news service, which we are glad to give out
for free, and so we need a final push to get us over the line so we can keep
would you prayerfully consider making a donation to ASSIST which would be so
appreciated, not only by us, but by the many persecuted Christians we feature
each day on ANS.
you have to do is go to www.assistnews.net
and then scroll down to where it says DONATE TO ASSIST NEWS and put in the
figure you wish to give. If you prefer a check, just make it out to ASSIST and
then mail it to PO Box 609, Lake Forest, CA 92609, USA. (All of your gifts from
the US are tax-deductible.)
as you give, you are blessings the millions of persecuted believers in over 60
countries who are paying a terrible price for their faith. We must not fail
you in advance for your kindness.
captions: 1) Persecution in the Middle East. 2) Michael Little of CBN and Dan
Wooding visiting the birthplace of Kim Jong-il in North Korea. 3) Dan Wooding
reporting for ANS outside of the Kurdistan Parliament in Northern Iraq. 4)
Pakistan Christians protest their plight.
You may republish this or any of our ANS stories with attribution to the ASSIST
News Service (www.assistnews.net).