More Persecution Throughout the Majority World

October 8, 2008

By far, persecution from Islam is the largest threat in most of the 54 African countries, but village cultures and religions also pose a very real impediment to the gospel. Some of these cultures include voodoo, incantations, and animal sacrifice, as part of their religious rituals. Benin is said to be the "World's Capital for Witchcraft." People are deeply entrenched by powerful demonic oppression and control, so when missionaries try to penetrate this spiritual barrier, there is much resistance and even death threats.

Religion, politics, long-time resentments or prejudices, are just some of the triggers that can set off a barrage of brutality in its various forms in Southeast Asia: Raids upon villages where Christians are rounded up, loaded onto trucks for "relocation," and where many endure starvation; genocide by use of poisonous chemicals; imprisonment and torture; and finally, martyrdom. Less brutal in the physical sense, but having a devastating impact; nevertheless, is simple discrimination. Christians in one Asian country are denied national identification cards, rendering them as non-persons with no rights, no jobs, and no lives.

Persecution in China was wielded with a double-edged sword. Communism forced foreign missionaries out of China and then punished believers by putting them in hard-labor camps, where they were treated harshly by officials and other (non-Christian) prisoners. Persecution still continues today, but much more discreetly. Despite the dangers of proselytizing in China, during the past 60 years the church has grown tremendously.

In Central Asian countries, Christianity, as well as Islam, suffered setbacks due to suppression of any religion while under Soviet rule. The result of this was nominal Christians - and Muslims whose religion was by then a mix of Islam and an indigenous form of Shaminism. After the fall of the iron curtain, however, Islam began to emerge in a much more radical form. Muslims from countries to the south began their migration into Central Asia, building mosques and trying to impose what they believed to be "true" Islam on citizens there. Today Islam is the predominate religion in this area, with 80% to 97% adherents in most countries. Majority rule finds ways of discriminating against the Christian minority.