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May 24, 2005

Religious persecution continues on Eritrea

From the Christian Post:

Open Doors, which has been working to strengthen the Persecuted Church since 1955, reported Monday that there are currently 16 full-time pastors and nearly 900 Eritrean Christians known to be held in prisons, military confinement camps and shipping containers for meeting secretly for prayer and worship outside government-approved churches.

Of those who have been detained, none have been charged in court or brought to trial by government authorities, the Santa Ana, Calif.-based ministry added.

“The situation continues to deteriorate for Christians in Eritrea,” said Open Doors USA President Dr. Carl A. Moeller. “Over the past year the number of evangelical Christians imprisoned for their faith has doubled. Some of them, including young people, are locked in shipping containers placed in the hot sun. In February a group of Sunday School teachers and their students were arrested while holding classes on their church compound.”

According to Open Doors, the National Security headquarters in Asmara, Eritrea opened a new security office in the Ministry of Education last week, which sources say was formed “to supervise and stop religious activities in all the government schools in the country.”

“Now there are security measures in place to report students for any Christian activities,” a local source confirmed to Santa Ana, Calif.-based Compass Direct.

The MSM has failed to report on this. That would be consistent with their habit of seeing only the suffering of white people as newsworthy, while accusing Conservatives of being racist.

Last month, the Religious Liberty Commission (RLC) of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) presented a report on international religious freedom to the UN Commission on Human Rights. In the report, the RLC stated that although the Eritrean government denies accounts of persecution, credible sources assert that, "the situation over the last year has become worse, not better, for the Eritrean Christians. Hundreds of Christians remain behind bars and are being persecuted simply for peacefully following their faith."

Of course since Eritrea is a member of the UN Commission on Human Rights, complaining to them does little good.

Previous coverage:
US Commission cites religious persecution
Religious persecution in Eritrea
This joke is getting sick
The joke that's not funny any more
The unfunny sitcom called the Human Rights Commission

Related coverage: Cao's Blog

Posted by Danny Carlton at May 24, 2005 08:26 AM

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Comments

I started communicating with an Eritrean about a year ago, on a Christian message board. He worked in government services and used a computer at work.
After doing a bit of research on his country and discovering that they had 3 Internet Providers, all of which was being monitored buy the government, I told him he would have to be much more careful than he had been.
He took my advice and broke off communications.
Things are pretty bad for them over there. He said it only got worse after their war with Ethiopia and Sudan was getting much worse.

Posted by: loboinok at May 25, 2005 01:46 AM

My name is Merhawie Woldezion and I am a Eritrean Orthodox Christian (also known as Tewahdo) in Asmara, Eritrea.

When asking the normal person on the street here, or in Mendefera, Keren, Tesseney, even Massawa, about religious freedom you here one of three things (usually dependent upon their religion and the town). The three responses are the following:

1. "Finally we can practice without fear of retribution." (usually from Muslims, especially in the highlands)

2. "These foreign Christians are destroying our Christian tradition, Pentecostal Christans are not from here!" (usually from highland Christians)

3. "There isn't any preferential treatment if you Muslim or Christian." (from people living in the lowlands)

So as you can see religious pluralism (between the two major religious groups) is alive. The conflict is between indigenous (including Roman Catholics) and new Christians (especially the evangelizing ones).

This is a view from Eritrea.

Posted by: Merhawie Woldezion at June 9, 2005 02:43 PM

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