On Easter, Remember Christians Who are Being Persecuted

(PHOTO: REUTERS/MOHAMED ABD EL GHANY) A relative of one of the victims reacts after a church explosion killed at least 21 in Tanta, Egypt, April 9, 2017.
(PHOTO: REUTERS/MOHAMED ABD EL GHANY)
A relative of one of the victims reacts after a church explosion killed at least 21 in Tanta, Egypt, April 9, 2017.

Just a week ago, on Palm Sunday, explosions rocked two churches in Egypt, killing 45 Coptic Christians and injuring more than a hundred. While the bombings were horrifying incidents that merited international media attention, they were far from isolated. Egypt’s Coptic community has endured increasing persecution from Islamic extremists, targeted simply because of their faith.

On Easter Sunday, I hope that the thoughts and prayers of the world will be with the Coptic Christians who have survived these brutal attacks, and all those who continue to practice their faith in the midst of horrible risks.

Egypt’s Christians aren’t alone in their suffering. In Nigeria, this Easter weekend marks the third anniversary of the kidnapping of the Chibok school girls at the hands of Boko Haram. When they were first captured, the “Bring Back Our Girls” campaign helped garner the attention of the world around this tragedy. Yet here we are, three years later, with nearly two hundred innocent girls still missing.

I met with the fathers of the kidnapped Chibok girls in Jos, Nigeria, in the fall of 2015. Each of these men lost a daughter to the world’s deadliest terror group on that fateful day in 2014. They told me that they live with constant uncertainty. They are always wondering if their daughter is dead or alive, and what horror she might be facing.

One father described the constant anxiety this way: “Sometimes I can feel okay, when I am with my family or with my church, but when I am alone, it all comes back.” He put his head in his hands and started softly sobbing, “I miss her, I miss her, I miss her,” with tears running down his face.

In the Middle East, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians remain displaced after they were forced to flee their homes when ISIS invaded their cities on the Nineveh Plain. Many will spend this Easter in “caravans,” plastic containers lined up in IDP camps in northern Iraq.

Visiting with Iraqi Christian refugees in Jordan, I learned the story of Christina, a young Iraqi refugee woman who had gone into labor the day that ISIS was invading her family’s village. In tears she begged her doctor to help her with the delivery, but he said, “There is no time.”

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SOURCE: The Christian Post
Kristin Wright serves as the director of advocacy at Open Doors USA, a global advocate for religious freedom and persecuted Christians. Visit OpenDoorsUSA.orgfor more information on helping the persecuted church.