"The city planning officials are against us," says Stefan Stankovic, a church elder and a Serb, referring to municipal efforts to tear down a tent in which 1,000 Romani Christians meet for worship. "Our offices have been broken into and burglarized. They are even cutting our phone lines. There is no end to intimidation."
This church, with 200 people in its Serb fellowship, is in a city of 80,000 about 30 miles from the southern border with Kosovo, where rebels continue to push for full independence. But its experience is not unique.
Since Vojislav Kostunica became president and former leader Slobodan Milosevic was forced from office last October, Serbian media, Serbian nationalists, and some Orthodox extremists have begun publicly labeling evangelicals as religious heretics, traitors, and evil sects "imported from the West." This campaign has coincided with a sharp increase in violent incidents against non-Orthodox churches. Amid Slobodan Milosevic's extradition on war crimes charges, evangelicals hope the fear of prosecution will curb fresh attacks on religious minorities.
According to Operation World, Orthodox Christians account for 67 percent of the population in Yugoslavia. The nation consists of Serbia—where 94 percent of the country's people live—and the small but fractious province of Montenegro. There are 10.6 million citizens in Serbia, only 8,000 of whom (or.075 percent of the total population) are evangelicals, ...1
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