News moves quickly. Every day countless new stories emerge about different things that have happened all over the world, so only the most significant or relevant are given mainstream coverage. Because of this it often becomes pretty easy to forget about all that’s been going on.
A few weeks ago there was a massive amount of coverage given to Meriam Ibrahim, a Christian woman who’s been imprisoned and faces the death penalty for refusing to renounce her Christian faith. The attention the story got gave us hope that the sentence would be reversed, and after pressure from leaders in the West, word got out that Meriam would be released. But then she wasn’t. And now, just yesterday, amazingly, her appeal was successful and she’s due to be released. Brilliant news.
But as other issues, such as the crisis in Iraq gain more media attention, it’s really easy for other stories to be forgotten. Meriam might be free – but that doesn’t mean we forget about the situation facing the Christian community in her home country of Sudan.
I’ve been on team with Open Doors for just over a week now, but it’s been a real eye opener to see just how many issues of persecution have happened in that short time.
Last week we began to hear about how at least a thousand Christian families along with half a million others were forced to flee the city of Mosul after it was invaded by the militant Islamic group ISIS, leaving the church presence in the city virtually non-existent.
On Sunday at least 45 people, the majority thought to be Christian, were killed in an attack in Mpeketoni, Kenya. Witnesses have said men were questioned on their religion and those who were found to be Christian were shot.
And on Wednesday at least 21 people were killed from a suicide bombing at a public viewing of a World Cup game in Nigeria. Although no organisation has claimed responsibility, the terrorist group Boko Haram has been behind a series of attacks on these public viewings, that are seen as too ‘Western’ for their strict Muslim beliefs.
These attacks don’t just involve Christians, but in many cases Christians and others are suffering as a result of non-conformity to the laws of dictators or other religions. So much is happening all of the time. It’s no surprise that we can end up forgetting about some of the news we hear because there’s just so much of it.
But it’s so important that we don’t treat these stories as one-off events. Persecution is an everyday reality for thousands of Christians around the world, and they can’t simply flick to the next story like us.
But we believe in a God more powerful than politicians or campaigners. So let’s not just pray about what’s hot in the media, let’s be faithful in our prayer life by remembering those who continue to suffer without coverage.
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.