RELEASE – Concerns Escalate Over Rising Christian Persecution in India

***NEWS RELEASE***

For Immediate Release | March 13, 201

In India, Violence Against Believers in Jesus Christ Has Increased 57 Percent in First Two Months of This Year Alone

WASHINGTON—Year by year, India has climbed higher on the World Watch List for Christian Persecution from Open Doors USA, jumping to No. 10 overall in 2019.

The concerning ranking has come as a result of reports of violence against Christians in a heavily Hindu-influenced nation, where serving Jesus Christ is not only frowned upon, but dangerous.

Save the Persecuted Christians, which advocates on behalf of 300 million Christians facing heavy persecution worldwide, points to coverage by CBN News over the weekend that India is seeing a “dramatic rise in persecution as more and more churches and Christians are coming under attack in 2019.” In fact, according to CBN, cases of hate and violence against India’s minority Christians have jumped 57 percent in the first two months of this year, with 77 incidents documented in January and February. 

“The fact that India is notching higher on the World Watch List is extremely concerning for our 65 million brothers and sisters in Christ living and worshipping there,” said Dede Laugesen, executive director of Save the Persecuted Christians. “Attacks have heightened over the past five years, since a radical Hindu party has controlled the government of India. Christian persecution in general is becoming more severe worldwide, but for many years, believers in India have been targeted with few consequences for the perpetrators. Open Doors USA also reports that rape is a common persecution against women in India. Besides praying for our fellow Christians in India, Americans must do what they can to advocate for their protection and ensure that attackers and rapists are held accountable.”

CBN also reported that the murders of two men in two different Indian states in February are thought to have been carried out because of their faith.

“We have recorded cases where Christians have been facing social boycott and have been excommunicated from their villages, and in a few instances have had to flee to save their lives,” Evangelical Fellowship of India’s general secretary told CBN.

Then in January, police officers arrested four women and two men during a Sunday worship service. Among the arrested was the church’s female pastor who was leading worship. She was later assaulted to the point of unconsciousness at the police station. When the officers thought she was faking being knocked out, they poured boiling tea into her mouth and poured two jugs of cold water on her face.

For believers in India and around the world,  Save the Persecuted Christians seeks to bring awareness about targeted Christians through the “The People of the Cross” exhibit, a series of vertical traveling banners that details Christian persecution in various countries around the world. A new panel outlining persecution in India will be added to the exhibit soon, Laugesen reported.

The exhibit’s banners feature images, facts and quotes from recent news stories about the persecution of Christians in multiple countries, such as North Korea, where Christians are tortured or worse; Syria, where Christian girls and women have been sold into sex slavery; Nigeria and East Africa, where terrorists are exterminating Christians with genocidal intent; and China, where Communists are increasingly hostile to people of faith and churches are demolished. A majority of the countries highlighted in the banners are high on Open Doors’ 2019 World Watch List.

“The People of the Cross” exhibit premiered in July 2018 at the U.S. Capitol as a side event to the first-ever U.S. Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom. Since then, it has toured the United States, reaching tens of thousands. “The People of the Cross” exhibit is available for churches, public venues and special events. To learn more about hosting “The People of the Cross,” contact Save the Persecuted Christians or visit the website, where all the panels are available to view online.

The mission of Save the Persecuted Christians is to save lives and save souls by holding the persecutors accountable and creating costs for their crimes against humanity. To that end, it will disseminate actionable information about the magnitude of such crimes and bring to bear a movement of concerned Americans determined to hold persecutors accountable for such crimes and create real costs for perpetrating them against those who follow Jesus.

According to Aid to the Church in Need, which released its biannual report on Religious Freedom in the World in November, over 300 million Christians experience persecution. According to Open Doors USA World Watch List, 245 million Christians are victims of high to extreme levels of persecution (i.e., torture, rape, sex-slavery, expulsion, murder and genocide), an increase of 14 percent over 2018. Open Doors also estimates 1 in 9 of the world’s Christians experience persecution and that every month: 345 Christians are killed, often in public and without regard to gender or age; 219 Christians are abducted and imprisoned indefinitely without trial; and 106 churches are demolished.

Because most of these crimes are not covered in the media, Save the Persecuted Christians developed a dedicated news aggregator—www.ChristianPersecutionNews.com—to capture current instances of persecution and to provide readers an easy way to share these heartbreaking stories with others.

With so much of the world’s Christian population being attacked, imprisoned and/or exiled for their beliefs, such as believers in India, the need has never been greater for the sort of grassroots campaign STPC’s SaveUs Movement is working to foster. Its efforts are modeled after a miraculously successful one that helped free another population suffering from heavy persecution—Soviet Jews—by penalizing those in the Kremlin responsible for such repression. Through this movement, Save the Persecuted Christians endeavors to provide American policymakers with the popular support they need to effect real change worldwide and alleviate systemically the suffering being experienced by so many of those following Christ.

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CONTACT:
Hamilton Strategies, Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Patrick Benner, 610.584.1096, ext. 104, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 10

To interview a Save the Persecuted Christians representative, contact Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Patrick Benner, 610.584.1096, ext. 104, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.

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