Nepal: Where Talking About Your Faith Gets You Fined, Jailed, Attacked
In Nepal, the situation for Christians is worsening. And the spiritual climate is becoming increasingly tension-filled. Our local ministry partners in the Southeast Asian country are sharing multiple stories of persecution–including several recent incidents of Christians being accused of proselytizing.
Under Nepal’s criminal code, the state forbids a person from one faith to “convert a person or abet him to change his religion,” Anyone, including Christians, can be falsely accused of converting someone.
- Earlier this month, a 16-year-old Christian prayer center in the district of Nawalparasi in the city of Gandaki Pradesh was demolished. Church leaders had secured informal permission from local officials before building the center almost 20 years ago. But with no prior notice, authorities suddenly destroyed the six small huts made of wood, zinc sheet and iron.
- In another recent incident, a Christian leprosy hospital (Anandaban Hospital) near Kathmandu was invaded by the hardliner Hindu political party Shiv Sena Nepal. The group accused the hospital of proselytizing and converting people to Christianity in exchange for free treatments. During the attack, they openly burned around 30 Bibles. Because of the false rumors, the hospital’s reputation has declined; and hospital staff are now fearful.
- On June 21, a Filipino man was arrested on charges of conversion because of a false complaint two boys made against him. To date, he remains in police custody.
- Finally, earlier this month a Christian boy named Ashik from Dharan was accused of killing a cow. He and two other friends were attempting to remove the dead animal from the river side. Authorities kept the boy in custody and set his bail for the equivalent of $743.
Please pray that our brothers and sisters in Nepal “… stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong” (1 Cor. 16:13). Pray that as they endure this increasing persecution, their stories of unjust treatment would spread and the gospel would be shared. Pray that in the face of uncertainty and fear of accusations, Christians would continue to serve others despite the risk. Pray with those who are in police custody or prison for talking about their faith. Finally, pray that these laws would be eradicated and that religious freedom would become part of Nepal’s identity.