SANTA ANA, Calif. – Open Doors International is one of nine nominees for the Sakharov prize of 2010, an award given out by the European Parliament each year.
The Sakharov prize is named after Soviet scientist Andrei Sakharov. It was established in December 1988 by the European Parliament as a means to honor individuals or organizations who have dedicated their lives to the defense of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Peter van Dalen, a member of the European Parliament, said: “Open Doors has been nominated because the organization has taken an active role in helping Christians who are persecuted worldwide.”
He added: “The current Open Doors campaign for Christians in Pakistan who are being discriminated in aid distribution (from flooding) is reason enough to nominate them for the Sakharov prize. An estimated 80 percent of all people worldwide who are persecuted for their faith are Christian.”
Member of the European Parliament Ryszard Legutko said that “Open Doors does marvelous work in over 45 countries, defending those who suffer for their faith. Everyone should be free to practice whatever faith they choose without the threat of persecution. The European Parliament can send this powerful message by supporting Open Doors.”
After verifying their acceptability, three European Parliament committees will vote for three finalists. That will take place on October 18. The winner will be chosen by the leaders of the political groups within the European Parliament. In the past, Nelson Mandela and Kofi Annan have won the prize.
“This is an unbelievable honor,” says Open Doors USA President/CEO Dr. Carl Moeller. “We are thrilled by being nominated for an award that has been given to such great humanitarian individuals and organizations in the past.”
The final selection will take place in November. This is the first time that Open Doors has been nominated for this award.
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 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 888-524-2535 end_of_the_skype_highlighting) or go to our Website at www.OpenDoorsUSA.org.
(For more information or to set up an interview, contact Palmer Holt at 704-662-2569 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 704-662-2569 end_of_the_skype_highlighting or Jerry Dykstra at 616-915-4117 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 616-915-4117 end_of_the_skype_highlighting).