A new report from the United States Commission on Religious Freedom notes that over 13 million people worldwide have been affected somehow by conflicts that have ties to religious belief. The report highlights the conflicts that have made the news (Syria and ISIL’s actions in Iraq/Syria, as well as Boko Haram’s attacks against Christians and Muslims) along with information from the Central African Republic and Burma (also known as Myanmar). The Commission also singled out five countries for their religious intolerance. The report reads:
“By any measure, the horrors of the past year speak volumes about how and why religious freedom and the protection of the rights of vulnerable religious communities matter. Those responsible for the horrors have made the case better than anybody can. And so it should come as no surprise that in the pages of this report, we have recommended that the United States designate all five of these nations – Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, Central African Republic, and Burma – as “countries of particular concern,” or CPCs under the International Religious Freedom Act. We are identifying their governments as well as others as either perpetrating or tolerating some of the worse abuses of religious freedom in the world.”
These nations, along with other ones specified in the report, are a reminder to pray for the international church as it undergoes persecution barely imaginable elsewhere. However God chooses to work in 2015, Christians everywhere must pray He will hear the cries of his people in pain and answer with His peace and justice.