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No Freedom for Millions

As Americans Prepare To Vote November 4, Basic Human Rights Don't Exist In Many Countries Worldwide

 

Contact: Open Doors USA Media Relations Director Jerry Dykstra, 616-915-4117, jerryd@odusa.org

 

SANTA ANA, California, Oct. 6 /Christian Newswire/ -- American citizens will exercise one of their many freedoms by going to the polls to vote for their favorite presidential candidate on November 4. U.S. elections provide for an orderly and peaceful transition of governmental leaders.

 

And every Sunday, as well as during the week, Americans are free to worship. No barred doors. No secret police. No censoring of the message by the government. The freedom to worship is one of our nation's most cherished values.

 

Of course, we need to be on constant guard to preserve these precious freedoms.

 

But in many countries around the world people don't have basic human rights – including religious freedom and the right to vote. Christians and other minorities – especially in Islamic and communist countries – are forced to worship underground. Reading a Bible could bring imprisonment. According to a Freedom House report, 43 countries or 36 percent of the world population were judged "not free" and 60 countries or 18 percent of the global population "partly free" in 2007. Those totals cover over 100 countries and 54 percent of the worldwide population.

 

Here are a few examples of countries where there are few human rights:

 

·        North Korea – People are forced to worship Kim Jong Il as a "god."  Up to 700,000 North Koreans are suffering in prison camps, many for simply practicing their faith underground. There is no right to vote. North Korea has been ranked the No. 1 persecutor of Christians for six years in a row, according to Open Doors' World Watch List.

 

·        Saudi Arabia – The country is considered an ally of the U.S. due to its support of the war on terrorism. However, there is absolutely no religious freedom. A person charged with apostasy – changing one's faith from Islam – could face death.

 

·        Iran – Islam is the official religion in Iran and all laws and regulations must be consistent with the official interpretation of Shariah (strict Islamic law). Since hard-line conservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad became president in 2005, persecution has increased for Christians and others. Iran is on the verge of passing a bill that would make apostasy a capital crime.

 

"As citizens in the U.S. go to the polls to vote on November 4 and to our places of worship with no harassment or restrictions, we thank our Lord for those freedoms which we enjoy," says Open Doors USA President/CEO Carl Moeller. "But millions of people worldwide don't have any basic rights. As one North Korean said last December, 'we can only celebrate Christmas in our hearts.' We need to advocate, encourage and pray for the millions who suffer for their faith."

 

For an interview with Moeller on religious freedom issues, please contact Open Doors USA Media Relations Director Jerry Dykstra at 616-915-4117 or jerryd@odusa.org. Moeller has traveled to many restricted countries. The Open Doors USA Website is www.OpenDoorsUSA.org. Open Doors supports and strengthens believers in the world's most difficult areas through Bible and Christian literature distribution, leadership training and assistance, community development, prayer and presence ministry and advocacy.