Ethics & Religion
February 21, 2019
Many Christians Persecuted Abroad
By Mike McManus
Thousands of Christians are being persecuted in Nigeria, Malaysia and
North Korea. Their situations are often horrific. American Christians
must pray for them, and urge President Trump to advocate on their
In Nigeria armed Islamic militants, Boko Haram and Fulani militants,
have killed tens of thousands of Christians and millions have been
driven off their land. At one level, it is a conflict between farmers
who are Christian and herders, Fulani Militant Muslims.
Last week TIME reported that "Nigeria is a risky place to give birth.
About 58,000 mothers die in childbirth in Nigeria annually and 240,000
newborns within 28 days of birth." Although Nigeria is the wealthiest
country in Africa, it ranks 4th in maternal mortality globally.
The situation is acute in the Borno state of Nigeria where Boko Haram
has led a decade-long insurgency. Half of the region's 200 doctors fled.
One result: there were 1,544 deaths per 100,000 live births - nearly
double the national average of 814.
Of the 250,000 women who give birth annually, 50,000 will face
life-threatening complications during delivery. In the majority of
cases, "death is entirely preventable."
Boko Haram and Fulani herdsman are driving Christian farmers out of
their homelands, creating a refugee crisis. Many are fleeing to the
nearby countries of Niger and Cameroon. Niger is one of the world's
poorest countries and cannot financially support them.
Five years ago, the world was shocked by the news of the kidnapping of
300 schoolgirls by Boko Haram. Eventually, all of the girls were
released, except five who died in transit.
In Malaysia, Pastor Raymond Koh was abducted in broad daylight two years
ago and has disappeared. Recently, Pastor David Low from Emmanuel
Evangelical Free Church in Kuala Lumpur led an ecumenical prayer service
with pastors from across the denomination to pray for Koh's release, and
for his suffering family members.
Citizens Against Enforced Disappearances (CAGED) joined with Koh's
family in asking Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad to personally order a
police probe into the disappearance of Pastor Koh and three other
Malaysians by a new team of investigators.
North Korea has been the No. 1 persecutor of Christians in the world.
Open Doors estimates there are 250,000 imprisoned North Koreans - 50,000
of which are political prisoners jailed for their Christian faith. North
Korea arrested South Korean and American missionaries for allegedly
attempting to create underground churches.
In his State of the Union Address President Trump announced that he will
hold a second nuclear summit with North Korea's Kim Jong-Un later this
month. Many human rights groups and faith leaders have urged the
President to confront Kim face-to-face about his country's severe human
David Curry, CEO of Open Doors, told the Christian Post that within
60-90 days of the meeting, Trump and the U.S. can "determine whether
North Korea is serious about opening up to the international community
by including monitoring of human rights considerations as part of
"The human rights violations against Christians in North Korea are
unacceptable. Christians are considered the No. 1 enemy of the state of
North Korea," Curry charged. He hopes Trump will "not shy away from our
moral mandate to call Kim Jong-Un to task for his imprisonment, torture
and execution of Christians whose only crime is to dare to express any
beliefs other than those approved by the Communist regime," Curry
I called the White House Press Office to ask whether President Trump
would raise the issue of Christian persecution with North Korea
President Kim Jong-Un when they meet later this month. I was asked to
put my request in writing, which I did.
No one at the White House has returned my call or responded to my
What can be done about Christian persecution in such countries as North
Korea, Malaysia and Nigeria?
First, American Christians need to pray for the release of Christians
who have been arrested and jailed because of their Christian beliefs. In
our daily prayers it is natural to pray for people we know - family
members or friends who may be suffering from illness.
The desperate needs of Christians who are being persecuted in such
countries as Nigeria, Malaysia and North Korea - are easily overlooked.
Therefore, my first request is to add these people to your daily prayer
Second, I urge you to pray for President Trump's upcoming meeting with
Finally, I suggest you write to the White House, asking Trump to raise
the issue of 50,000 North Korean Christians who are imprisoned for their
Copyright (c) 2018 Michael J. McManus, President of Marriage Savers and
a syndicated columnist. To read past columns, go to
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