Timing is everything for Eritrean believers.

By November 10, 2005

Eritrea (MNN)–The U.S. State Department released this year’s International Religious Freedom Report, examining religious freedom around the world.

It names Eritrea among a handful of countries (Burma, China, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Vietnam) of particular concern (or CPC) for the severity of their violations. These same countries were listed as CPCs in the 2004 report.

Some of the cited countries curb religious freedom by controlling religious expression and practice. According to the report, these countries evidently ‘regard some or all religious groups as enemies of the state because of their religious beliefs or their independence from central authority.’

That leaves a broad interpretation as to the enforcement of many of the country’s constitutional clauses. If there is broad interpretation, it generally does not come out favorably for the minority religions.

Open Doors’ Jerry Dykstra explains they’re starting a petition drive on behalf of the Eritrean Christians. “The petition urges Congress and the Department of State to continue to put a stop to violations of basic religious freedoms committed by the Eritrean government.”

The petition launch also coincides with Sunday’s observance of the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.

Dykstra says of the church in Eritrea: “Christianity goes forth and many lives are changed. We’ve seen that in China; we’ve seen that in Vietnam. We do know that people are continuing to worship the Lord. Churches are continuing to minister.”

If you’d like more details on the petition, go to the Open Doors USA website. Their information is listed below.

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