SANTA ANA, Calif. (Oct. 14, 2010) – Christians in Muslim-dominated countries are facing increased persecution. Over the last month churches in Indonesia have been attacked and forced to close and a mob of Pakistani Muslim extremists shot and beat dozens of Christians, including one cleared earlier of “blasphemy” charges.
These Christians, and many more worldwide, are not free to believe.
Open Doors USA is launching an advocacy campaign called “Free to Believe.” The campaign will focus on helping persecuted Christians who currently do not have religious freedom like Christians do in the United States.
The campaign is a response to the United Nations Defamation of Religions Resolution which threatens the freedom of religion and expression for Christians and members of minority faiths worldwide.
This resolution seeks to criminalize words or actions perceived as attacks against a religion, with the focus being on protecting Islam. Passing this resolution would further result in the United Nations condoning state-sponsored persecution of Christians and members of other faiths.
Many of the countries supporting this resolution are the Islamic-majority countries of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) that persecute Christians and other religious minorities. Members of minority faiths such as Christians or Jews who make truth claims or even evangelize can be accused of “defamation” and those individuals can be punished under national blasphemy laws as frequently happens in countries like Pakistan. Tragically, the UN resolution provides legitimacy to these countries’ blasphemy laws.
While the Defamation of Religions Resolution has been introduced and passed by the UN in the past – in various forms and under various titles since 1999 – there has been eroding of support for the resolution in recent years. The Open Doors advocacy team has been lobbying countries which have voted for the resolution or abstained from voting on the issue in the past. The resolution is up again this fall for re-authorization.
It is important to encourage key countries to change their vote on this resolution. These countries are not easily influenced by American citizens. But, they are more receptive to pressure from our legislators. That’s why we’re asking you to send a message to your legislator, asking him or her to ask key countries to change their vote on the Defamation of Religions Resolution. A sample letter is provided for you to send that includes the necessary information for your elected officials to lobby the target UN country missions.
To send a message, visit the Open Doors USA Website at http://freetobelieve.info.
“It’s dangerous and alarming that a UN resolution provides legitimacy to national blasphemy laws that are used to persecute Christians and other minority faith groups,” says Open Doors USA Advocacy Director Lindsay Vessey. “The United Nations Defamation of Religions Resolution in effect amounts to the UN condoning state-sponsored persecution. We as Christians need to speak out against it and do all in our power to stop its passage. Everyone should be free to believe.”
An estimated 100 million Christians worldwide suffer interrogation, arrest and even death for their faith in Christ, with millions more facing discrimination and alienation. Open Doors supports and strengthens believers in the world’s most difficult areas through Bible and Christian literature distribution, leadership training and assistance, Christian community development, prayer and presence ministry and advocacy on behalf of suffering believers. To partner with Open Doors USA, call toll free at 888-5-BIBLE-5 (888-524-2535) or go to our Website at www.OpenDoorsUSA.org.
(For more information or to set up an interview, contact Jerry Dykstra at 616-915-4117)