Nearly 100 Eritrean Christians Arrested for Attending Illegal Churches

Amanda Casanova | Contributor | Friday, June 2, 2017

Nearly 100 Eritrean Christians Arrested for Attending Illegal Churches

Open Doors’ World Watch List says that the country of Eritrea is the 10th harshest persecutorof Christians in the world.

According to the organization, last month the Eritrean government arrested nearly 100 Christians. Eritrea has only approved four religious denominations, and officials are cracking down on all other illegal denominations.

“In Eritrea, the situation at surface level would seem like there’s religious freedom. They allow for certain denominations of Christians to meet openly…. So, [for example], the Orthodox churches are totally okay in Eritrea,” said Open Doors USA’s Emily Fuentes. “The problem is, anyone who is not part of a particular denomination that is approved by the government — and there’s only four — if they meet in their homes, if they do anything, it’s considered a crime.”

The four allowed religious denominations are Sunni Islam, Orthodox Christian, Catholic Christian and Evangelical Lutheran.

Any outside denominations are liable to face the government’s punishment.

“They’re rounded up and put into storage container prisons many times,” Fuentes said. “Eritrea is on the eastern side of the continent of Africa where it gets extremely hot. These people are sometimes locked in storage containers with very little air ventilation and up to 120 degree heat.

“[They] often get sick from the lack of hygiene in these places, and often don’t get the food they require to stay nourished. So it’s a horrific place for Christians who don’t fall into the approved denominations.”

Fuentes said Christians should be praying for their fellow Christians in Eritrea, but you can also sign a petition asking President Trump to appoint an International Religious Freedom (Ambassador)-at-Large that evaluates persecution against religious minorities around the world.

Sign the petition here.


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Publication date: June 2, 2017