Waving branches and dancing rhythmically, the children chant, "He is risen, he is risen." They bang drums and rattles; their small black bodies glisten in the African sun. These are Sudanese Christians, and from their Easter celebration you would never know that weeks earlier they were driven from their homes by soldiers, that they are celebrating in a refugee camp--and that their memories are still raw with scenes of rape and murder.
The Muslim government in Sudan has made it a crime to convert to Christianity--a policy enforced brutally. As the Khartoum government troops move south, where most Christians live, believers are given three options: convert, flee, or be killed. Thousands of children have been snatched from Christian families and many sold as slaves to buyers in Sudan, Libya, and other Islamic countries. Thousands of women have been raped, others sold as servants or concubines. There are even reports of men being crucified.
Sudan is not alone in its hostility toward Christians. Michael Horowitz of the Hudson Institute has collected evidence of widespread persecution throughout Africa and the Middle East. In Ethiopia last year, government troops raided the largest evangelical church, arresting most congregants. Many died in jail, their bodies thrown out to be scavenged by animals.
In Pakistan, Christian evangelization is outlawed by a blasphemy law that prohibits speaking against the prophet Muhammad, punishable by death. A 12-year-old child was recently sentenced to death and freed only by international pressure.
In Egypt, both converts and ethnic Coptic Christians are being persecuted, their businesses looted, their churches burned. In Saudi Arabia, the government offers rewards of up to $8,000 for information ...1