October, 2010: Global Persecution

October 4, 2010

Imagine: Your nose and ears are cut off as punishment for running away from your abusive in-laws.  Then you’re left on a mountainside to die.

The mere thought is horrifying.  Yet, that’s exactly what happened last year to a young woman living under the repressive Taliban regime.  And sadly, her story is only one of so many where men, women, and children are abused for religious reasons.

Violence against women.  Genocide and ethnic cleansing.  Religious discrimination.  These are just a few of the many heartbreaking injustices going on in our world today.

They’re also the issues that we’ll be discussing as part of this month’s topic – persecution around the world.

Simply defined as the methodical mistreatment of an individual or group by another group, persecution includes abuse of anyone for religious, ethnic, or political reasons.  Sadly, the poor, who lack access to justice systems and are unable to protect themselves or their families from those more powerful, often bear the burden of exploitation.

While most hear the term religious persecution and immediately picture those Christians around the world who are being martyred for their faith, religious repression is an even broader issue.  In fact, religion has often been a predicating factor in cases of genocide and violence against women.

Conflicts over religion have led to countless deaths in countries around the world.  In certain cultures, religious beliefs are used to justify female genital mutilation.  Some religions continue to encourage violent oppression of women.

And while the problem of persecution might seem like an overwhelmingly broad issue, it’s an important concern on which we can and should act.  So we’re tackling the topic, diving into just a few of the many injustices we could cover.  Along the way, we hope to learn together and inspire action.

Thanks for joining us this month as we tackle the tough topic of global persecution – we look forward to the conversation!

Did You Know?

Just one example of violence against women is the issue of female genital mutilation:

  • 135 million women and girls have undergone genital mutilation.
  • Around 3 million girls, most of them under 15, undergo the procedure every year.
  • Female genital mutilation occurs significantly in Africa and is based on a mixture of cultural, religious, and societal expectations.

Sadly, stories of genocide and ethnic cleansing fill our history books. In recent years:

  • According to the U.N., an estimated 400,000 people have died from violence or disease in Sudan. Other estimates suggest up to 100,000 people die every month.
  • In 1994, during the Rwandan Civil War, Hutu extremists attempted to exterminate the Tutsi people. Nearly a million people were brutally murdered.

While religious persecution in the world today is hard to quantify, here are just a few stories of people being persecuted because of their faith:

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Millennial of the Month

Rising Voice recently got the opportunity to chat with Kevin Massie and Whitney Milton of Make Way Partners. Kevin and Whitney share how the Lord opened their eyes to the devastating genocide in Sudan; their involvement with Make Way Partners and practical ways Millennials can get involved. To see our full conversation with Kevin and Whitney, click here.

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