The editorial of the week of 21/01/2022 with Camille: Persecution of Christians, tsunami in the Tonga Islands, prayer for unity

Each year, the NGO Portes Ouvertes publishes its World Index of Christian Persecution.

The organization published the 2022 edition of this Index on Wednesday January 19 at the start of the afternoon., it presents figures of great sadness that should challenge us!

It reveals that between October 1, 2020 and September 30, 2021, over 360 million Christians have been heavily persecuted or discriminated against worldwide, an increase of 24% over the previous year. This represents 1 in 7 Christians.

Afghanistan is at the top of the ranking, with the arrival of the Taliban to power last August the level of violence against Christians has exploded.

Nigeria is once again the country where the most Christians have lost their lives because of their faith. And it is 5 Christians who were killed in the world over the period observed by Portes Ouvertes.

We continue with a focus on news that concerns persecuted Christians. Today in West Africa, Myanmar, Pakistan and Iran.

Following the release of the 2022 Global Christian Persecution Index, Illia Djadi, Open Doors Senior Analyst on Freedom of Religion and Belief in Sub-Saharan Africa, spoke to Christian Today about the threats on Christians in West Africa. A testimony to be found on the InfoChrétienne website.

In Myanmar, (ranked 12th in the 2022 Index), Burmese army attack on refugee camps recently killed 3 civilians, including a 7-year-old girl. The victims cited all came from the village of Moso, site of the “Christmas massacre” where the charred bodies of at least 35 civilians, all Catholics, had been found on December 24.

Mahnoor Ashraf, a 14-year-old Pentecostal Christian, and another 16-year-old girl were victims of religious persecution in Pakistan (ranked 8th in the Open Doors Index). One was abducted, forcibly married and converted to Islam. The other was raped.

The religious freedom organization Middle East Concern has just announced thatan Iranian pastor who was released from prison on December 30 was unfortunately arrested again to serve a sentence that was canceled in 2014. Iran is ranked 9th in the Global Index of the Persecution of Christians 2022.

Saturday, an underwater volcano, the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai, has erupted off the Tonga Islands.

From space, a huge mushroom of smoke and ash, immediately followed by the outbreak of a wave was captured by satellites.

These striking images, released on Tuesday January 18, show the extent of the damage and reveal whole swaths of the Tonga islands covered in ash or ravaged by the tsunami that followed the eruption. Three people were killed and "a number" were injured, according to the government, which called the volcano's explosion an "unprecedented disaster".

Katie Greenwood, of the International Federation of the Red Cross, estimates that "the scale of the devastation could be immense, especially for the most isolated islands".

Also discover on the InfoChrétienne website, the moving testimony of a resident of the Tonga Islands who told a local radio how he survived for 27 hours at sea after being swept away by the tsunami. "It was manna from God," says the 57-year-old.

The editorial of the week concludes with an encouragement to unity.

We are at the heart of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity which takes place every year from January 18 to 25.

This year's theme centers on Matthew 2 verse 2:

“We saw his star in the East and we came to pay homage to him. »

It is the context of the pandemic, the economic crisis it has caused and "the failure of political, economic and social structures to protect the weakest and most vulnerable" that inspired this verse. It is an invitation for Christians to turn our eyes to the “light which will show [us] the way to the Saviour, who knows how to overcome darkness”.

Camille Westphal Perrier

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