World Watch List: 32
Leader: President Bidhya Devi Bhandari
Population: 29 million
Christian: 1.2 million
Main Religion: Hinduism
Government: Federal Parliamentary Republic
Source of Persecution: Religious Nationalism
In cooperation with local partners and churches, Open Doors supports the persecuted church in Nepal through:
- Bibles and Christian literature distribution
- Emergency aid relief
- Socio-economic development
- Literacy classes
- Legal assistance
Rapid growth causing concerns
In 2008, Nepal transited from a Hindu monarchy into a secular democracy. Christian missionaries were previously banned from entering the country, and the church was small. Since 2008, Christianity has grown exponentially to the current 8,000 churches and over a million believers. The rapid growth has caused radical Hindus to worry as most of the Christians converted from Hinduism. They want Nepal to be a Hindu state again, just like the radical groups in neighbouring India. They attack Christians and spread false rumours about them. The Nepali society as a whole does not welcome Christians.
Intense social boycotting
Christian converts also face opposition from their families and communities and pressure to recant their new faith. They are closely monitored – youths who became Christians while studying in Kathmandu are called back to their villages by their families. Converts can also be kicked out of their homes, or face intense social boycotting in their private and business lives. Children who refuse to take part in Pooja, an act of worshipping Hindu gods and goddesses, will be discriminated by their teachers and schoolmates.
Christians in politics after 10 years
Even though it is a secular country, proselytising and converting to another religion is a punishable offence. There are no provisions for registering churches, and church activities are monitored to see if churches are proselytising. Perpetrators who attack Christians have frequently been left unpunished, while Christians falsely accused of crimes do not receive a fair trial. On a more positive note, some Christians were chosen as representatives of some local units in local elections in 2017. Christians were banned from politics until ten years ago.
Gender specific persecution
Female believers from a Hindu background are first emotionally pressurised into giving up their new faith, and then physically abused when it doesn’t work.
Male believers tend to migrate to new cities or areas and live under a new identity.
- For Nepali churches to continue growing strong, with the wisdom and strength to be resilient in the face of persecution.
- That God will use believers from a Hindu background to be His witnesses among their relatives.
- For more positive Christian influence on Nepalese politics, and that the Nepalese government will allow more freedom for Christians.