Tania Corbett, the PR Manager of Open Doors UK & Ireland joins the programme to talk in some depth about the scale and seriousness of this trend. This theme was one of the key points of discussion at the recent meeting of Russia’s Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis. Open Doors has been helping repressed Christians throughout the world for the past 60 years. Here are some of the major points that Tania brings up:
Persecution is not only from Muslims or Muslim authorities as prescribers to stereotypes about Islam might predict. Persecution is happening in a vast array of circumstances, countries and cultural environments. Thousands of Christians are suffering as the result of actions of Hindus in India for example, an estimated 70,000 Christians are in prisons in North Korea, and Christianity in places like the Maldives is banned completely. In Syria and Jordan, Christian refugees don’t tend to access the main refugee camps because of the high rates of anti-Christian persecution happening in them.
In many countries Christians are not going to churches but meeting in semi-secret locations; in homes, in woods, in private groups. Christianity appears to be going underground in some regions. The Open Doors charity also tries to counter the so called ’squeeze’ against Christians, where you may not get a promotion if you are a Christian, you may not get into college, or get planning permission for construction work for the local Church as in India for example. There are many insidious ways that Christians are being persecuted apart from violence.
Open Doors is working towards asking the UK government to make sure that those people are not forgotten about.