Eritrean Christians Caught Between Persecutors

Thursday, June 18, 2015

By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News)-- Eritrean Christians are being forced to choose between living under a dictatorship that imprisons believers for their faith, or risking their lives by escaping Eritrea by way of Sudan.

According to International Christian Concern, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has designated Sudan and Eritrea as "Countries of Particular Concern" in that both African nations have systematically, continually and egregiously abused their citizens' religious freedoms.

The latest USCIRF annual report cited Eritrea for detaining Christians in metal shipping containers that are left out in the sun until the believers deny their faith in Christ. In Sudan, USCIRF reported that its government imprisons Christian converts from Islam until they are either executed for apostasy, or forced to recant their faith.

And it has become even more dangerous for Christians in a destabilized Libya.

Libya is now one of the most hazardous countries for Christians as they often face discrimination, sexual abuse, thievery, exploitation and even murder on account of their faith. Many Christians risk being abducted as they attempt to reach safer shores in Europe by embarking from the Libyan coast.

ICC is currently working with its partners in Africa to identify kidnapped Christians.

"The increasing trend of the kidnapping of Christians and targeting them just because of their faith is intensely disturbing," said ICC's Regional Manager of Africa Troy Augustine. "During times like these, the Church must show that we remember our brothers and sisters when they are imprisoned for Christ just as if we are ourselves were in chains. We stand with them in prayer and call for their immediate release, whether they are currently being held hostage by ISIS, Rashaida, or the Eritrean state."