Persecution of Christians in Yemen (from “Open Doors”)

YEMEN

Leader: President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi
Population: 27.2 million (a few thousand Christians)
Main Religion: Islam
Government: Republic
World Watch List Rank: 10
Source of Persecution: Islamic extremism

There is some religious freedom for foreigners here but evangelism is prohibited and Yemenis who leave Islam may face the death penalty. Muslim-background believers are forced to meet in secret. If their faith is discovered, they face severe persecution from authorities, family, and extremist groups who threaten ‘apostates’ with death if they do not recant. Insecurity caused by Islamist movements makes Yemen very unstable. Christians are believed to be under surveillance by extremists and expat Christians can be a specific target for these extremist groups.

PLEASE PRAY:

The number of local believers is estimated at just a few hundred. Ask the Lord to encourage them and increase their numbers
Several expat Christians have been kidnapped in recent years. Pray for protection for foreign Christian workers and NGOs
Al-Qaeda-linked groups are gaining more power. Pray that Yemen’s leaders will be able to restore peace to this deeply divided country.
PERSECUTION DYNAMICS

Yemen is very unstable and its situation has deteriorated since the Arab Spring riots of 2011. The country is balancing on the brink of civil war. In the chaos, Al Qaeda militants have seized the opportunity to spread to parts of Yemen where formerly the government maintained some sort of order. These developments have led to an increase in oppression of Christians.

Kidnappings of foreigners occur regularly, and Christians are believed to be under surveillance by extremists. Several expat Christians have been kidnapped, though it is hard to discern to what extent religious factors play a role. Migrant Christian fellowships have been raided and forced to stop meeting.

Muslim-background believers face strong family and societal pressure. Threats from family, society and extremist groups are very serious and indigenous Christians have been killed for their faith. Due to this risk, many believers have had to go into hiding or even flee the country. Female converts are under threat of forced marriage once their conversion is revealed.

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Filed under The Ramblings of a Reformed Ecclesiastic

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