Living conditions for Christians and other religious minorities worldwide are rapidly worsening due to the Coronavirus outbreak, says Open Doors USA, an organization working with persecuted Christians in more than 60 countries.
“Their situation is going from bad to worse,” said David Curry, CEO of Open Doors. “In places like North Korea, Iran, and Pakistan, Christians are already seen as second-class citizens, traitors and infidels. Now, as COVID-19 ravages the health and livelihoods of all people in these countries, Christians are especially in need of emergency relief,” said Curry.
Twenty-five of the countries currently reporting cases of COVID-19 are on Open Doors’ 2020 World Watch List, indicating they are among the world’s worst persecutors of Christians.
In many of these countries, Christians are more likely to experience discrimination when seeking basic provisions and medical care. They are often denied food and healthcare, making them more susceptible to disease. These limitations are magnified in a time of crisis-induced scarcity.
Open Doors reports that economic discrimination is the second-most prevalent form of persecution toward men in the Middle East and North Africa. As a result, many Christians in the region are forced into low-paid jobs due to religious discrimination. The coronavirus crisis has caused significant job loss, leaving many of them without income. Additionally, those who convert to Christianity from other faiths are disowned by their families, leaving them without a support system. The result is a large number of people in urgent need of food, shelter, and medical care.
Open Doors is responding by mobilizing existing local emergency relief networks in the more than 60 countries where Christians suffer as a direct result of their faith. Open Doors also continues to provide Bibles, discipleship training, and trauma care to Christians in need.
Curry said, “As many churches worldwide are cancelling services or holding them online, more Christians are experiencing what it’s like to worship in isolation. In this newfound reality, Christians in the United States have a unique opportunity to connect with the ongoing experience of persecuted Christians who are worshipping in secret.”
The ministry is hosting daily social media livestreams with church leaders to share spiritual encouragement and prayer requests from persecuted Christians.
For more information on providing emergency relief during the coronavirus pandemic, visit OpenDoorsUSA.org.
For more than 60 years, Open Doors USA has worked in the world’s most oppressive and restrictive countries for Christians. Open Doors works to equip and encourage Christians living in dangerous circumstances with the threat of persecution and equips the Western church to advocate for the persecuted. Christians are one of the most persecuted religious groups in the world and are oppressed in at least 60 countries. For more information, visit OpenDoorsUSA.org.