Oppression of Christians has increased worldwide during Covid-19

August 12, 2020

Ultimately we know that the cross that so many Orthodox Christians and Christians of other faith traditions are carrying worldwide will lead to the resurrection. That is the great hope that our faith gives us.

At this time, however, the darkness and horror that Christians face on a daily basis is expanding. Combating it must be a priority for all the world’s governments.

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in the Middle East and elsewhere, and the imminent disappearance of Christianity from some of its ancient strongholds, see here.

“Oppression of Christians has increased during Covid-19,” UgChristianNews, August 12, 2020:

Release International, a nonprofit organisation which monitors and reports persecution of Christians around the world, says oppression and discrimination towards believers in Christ has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The charity, which serves Christians in more than 30 countries, said Church properties have been demolished during lockdown and that many believers have been denied food and relief aid by governments and NGOs because of their faith.

This global report comes at a time social media sites in Uganda have been awash with information regarding uneven coronavirus restrictions and unlawful demolition of church buildings, the latest being that of St Peters church, Ndeeba located in Lubaga division.

Release International CEO Paul Robinson said: “Covid-19 is having a devastating impact on the lives of many poor Christians. In places hostile to the faith Christians are experiencing increased hardship.

“Food is now in short supply. They are unable to work and can’t earn, and support is being withheld because of their faith.

“Their cries for help are being ignored by local charities who are distributing food packages only to families of other faiths. We can’t afford to delay. These Christians need our help.”

The report highlighted cases in China, where Christians are being arrested for meeting online to worship and pray during lockdown.

Authorities have “totally prohibited” online church services and prayer meetings, Release partners in China said.

“Nothing constituting a religious service is allowed,” they said.

Release International partners believe the Chinese Government is exploiting Covid-19 to increase its long-running crackdown on Christians.

“They have accelerated campaigns such as the forced demolition of crosses against even government-sanctioned churches,” the partners said.

“Pastors have been rounded up for sharing the gospel and distributing facemasks on the street.”

In many countries, Christians have experienced crippling poverty during the pandemic.

In Algeria, there is no social security or government support, leaving many Christians struggling to get by.

A Release partner in Algeria said: “Many Christian families have had to stop work because of the lockdown and have lost their income. They have been rejected by society and their families as a result of their faith. The demand is huge.”

In Pakistan, the situation has been especially difficult for converts from a Muslim background because the only form of financial support comes from families. Muslim families often withdraw this support to family members who convert to a different faith, Release said.

“These individuals have been rejected by society and their families as a result of their faith,” said Release’s Pakistan partners.

Just buying food and paying the rent has become a huge challenge for many impoverished Christians, let alone buying face masks and hand sanitiser.

“The government is not able to support Christians in the villages, slums or brick kilns,” the partners said.

In Upper Egypt, there have been reports of Christians being refused food and support from organisations distributing aid.

Release partners report: “The authorities are helping Muslims but not Christians. And churches that try to help are being closed by police order.”…