Living conditions of many Yemeni’s garbage in the streets and huts and tents everywhere for displaced people. The war in the country and the humanitarian crisis is only covered in the margins of mainstream media. Huge displacement because of violence and lack of nutrition and food.
As the war in Yemen continues, leaving over 22 million Yemenis in need of humanitarian assistance and 8.4 million people on the brink of famine according to the International Crisis Group, Open Doors contacts say that Christians are being excluded from receiving vital humanitarian aid.
Henriette Kats, an Open Doors researcher, says, “Contacts in the country have repeatedly stated that where citizens are known to be Christians, they are regularly being excluded from receiving humanitarian aid.”
WAR INCREASES PERSECUTION
Yemen is number 9 on the 2018 World Watch List, Open Doors’ annual ranking of the 50 countries where Christians face the most extreme persecution. Christians from Muslim backgrounds face particular pressure in Yemen – they can face the death penalty if it is known that they have left Islam, and often follow Jesus in secret. The war has made life for Christians there even more difficult.
Henriette says, “There is a Christian perspective to the fighting in Yemen, which has left no useable church buildings in the country. All four registered churches were located in Aden and suffered serious war-damage in 2015 and 2016 from both Islamic militant groups and Saudi airstrikes. Opinions differ over whether the damage to the churches was ‘collateral damage’, whether it could have been prevented, or whether the armed units involved simply used the situation to destroy the churches.
“What is definite is that most foreign Christians have left the country due to the civil war, leaving the indigenous Christians to stand on their own feet. They may have no church buildings, but since this indigenous church – which consists mainly of Christians with a Muslim background – has evolved and matured over the years, they are still there. And they have a right to just as much food and medicine as everyone else.”
STAND WITH YOUR CHURCH FAMILY IN YEMEN
It is shocking that our brothers and sisters who have been left in desperate situations by the war in Yemen are further being denied the support they need because of their faith in Jesus.
Despite the war making persecution against Christians even worse, we hear reports that more Muslims are turning to Christ than ever before in Yemen. Please stand with our Yemeni brothers and sisters in prayer.
- For an end to the war, and that humanitarian aid will get through to those who need it most
- For our brothers and sisters in Yemen, that God will provide for all their needs, despite the discrimination they face
- That Yemen’s children will be able to play and study in school without fear of violence and war
- For our sister Raha*, who recently lost her husband in the war. Pray for comfort, peace, and provision for her and her family, as her husband was their main provider.
Open Doors supports the body of Christ on the Arabian Peninsula through organising prayer, distributing Scripture resources and training believers and pastors.
*name changed for security reasons
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