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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Persecuted: The Global Assault on Christians by Paul Marshall

Christians belong to the most persecuted religion in the world.  This book contains a dreadful litany of the persecution of Christians around the world, ranging from legal difficulties to not being allowed to practice their religion at all and killings and terrorism.  The list is long. This ill treatment is especially vicious in the strictest Muslim countries, such as Saudi Arabia, and in Communist countries like China and Vietnam.  In North Korea, Christians are often killed or disappear if they're simply found to have a Bible.  Churches are forbidden in Saudi Arabia.  Even in democracies such as Indonesia and India, there have been bombings of churches and Christians have been murdered.  Muslims have been harshly punished for apostasy and 'forced conversions' and blasphemy.  The case that shocked me was that of Graham Staines, an Australian missionary who was viciously murdered in India after working amongst lepers for twenty years.

The Arab Spring is not helping. In many countries formerly governed by dictatorships such as Egypt, strict Islamists are taking over governments, and hostility toward Christians is increasing. Christians vie to leave these countries in droves. Christians are scared in Syria, for example, because they are scared of the power of fanatical Islamists. Attacks on Coptic Christians are increasing in Egypt. Marshall writes about the historical importance of Christianity to the Middle East, and the significance of the loss of the values of Christianity to these countries.

I found this book difficult to read, because it is so depressing.  Marshall goes through the list of wrongs to Christians country by country, and it is an excellent analysis.  Thankfully, there are suggestions about ways to help combat persecution towards Christians at the end of the book.

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