Eritrea continues to harass and punish Christians.

By July 27, 2005

Eritrea (MNN)–Eritrean Christians are calling for a worldwide day of prayer and fasting for Christian prisoners in Eritrea on August 5th.

Many stories have been leaking out as to what is happening to believers in the country. Strategic World Impact’s Kevin Turner says, “You have over 1,200 Christians, that’s pastors, evangelists, various Christian workers, in prison. They’ve been arresting children for singing Christian songs at their graduation parties.”

Arrests like these follow the shutdown of the evangelical churches nearly 10 years ago. Persecution is especially harsh in the military where Christian gatherings and reading the Bible have been forbidden since the mid-1990s.

Turner explains that, “This government is absolutely dead-set on trying to destroy the evangelical church in Eritrea.” Recent reports indicate 20 partners were arrested and put into the shipping containers.

That means that ministry is still happening, but it comes at a great cost. Turner urges prayer. “I think it’s essential that the church pray for the persecuted Christians in Eritrea. Pray that there’d be unity among the believers, pray that God would give them grace during their confinements, their beatings, and pray that they would be able to show that they’re not an enemy of the government.”

About 48 percent of the country’s 4.4 million people are Sunni Muslim, 41 percent are Eritrean Orthodox, and 4 percent are Catholic. Evangelicals amount to about 3.3 percent of the population.

Last fall, the U.S. State Department named Eritrea a “country of particular concern” (CPC) for severe violations of religious freedom.

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