Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country has a tiny Christian community which is constantly under threat. Suffering seems to be the norm of every new day. Sam a Yemeni Christian said, “Life for Christians in Yemen is very hard, there is not a country where Christians are not suffering because of their faith.”
According to interviews held by Open Doors (a non-denominational mission, supporting persecuted Christians) at an undisclosed location in North Africa, it was reported that all Christians in Yemen are from a Muslim background and according to Islamic Shariah Law it is forbidden for them to convert to Christianity. There are a few thousand Christians in Yemen, who are secret converts.
The Government claims to have given religious freedom but the Christian community has indeed been wronged. Their day to day struggle includes both battling the government’s stances on freedom of religion and making ends meet.
From the perspective of persecuted Christians, who face cultural and political persecution if they seek to study or choose faith in Jesus, either option is undesirable. A Yemeni Christian is not allowed to own a bible despite continuous claims of religious freedom. There are no good options or a safe future for believers in Yemen as the country is a breeding place for chaos. Continuous political instability and being caught between the ideologies is Iran and Saudi Arabia, neither of which allow free expression of Christian faith has taken the toll on the meager Christian population of Yemen.
Being the second largest country in the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen has become a safe haven for radical Islamists and the increasing tension with Saudi Arabia does not represent a positive future for Christians in Yemen.
Citizens like Sam talk of their misery by saying, “It’s unfortunate, but they are playing with the souls of people. What end up being destroyed are people’s lives and businesses.” He accesses the Word of God over the Internet when he gets a chance and has appealed to the world to pray for his country especially for the secret believers.