Villagers attack Vietnam families, who converted to Christianity

March 10, 2013 by  
Filed under newsletter-asia

Five families in Vietnam who recently converted to Christianity have been subjected to repeated violent attacks by villagers who resent their new faith.

Vietnam ChristiansVietnam, March 08, 2013: The families, from an ethnic minority group in the Central Highlands region, became Christians over the course of the last year. They have been constantly harassed by their neighbours for failing to take part in the communal sacrifices and other traditional religious practices of the area.

Opposition has turned violent, with three waves of attacks, the most recent taking place between 18 and 22 February. First, the believers’ homes and belongings were damaged in successive night raids, and then a number of them were physically assaulted.

The attackers hurled bricks and roof tiles at the Christians’ homes and used wooden clubs to batter the properties, causing some structural damage. They also entered the houses and destroyed personal belongings, including crockery and food. The offenders smashed windows and ripped out wooden shutters, doors and frames.

On Friday 22 February, a number of the Christians were beaten up in broad daylight. Several were seriously injured. One family had to flee into the forest after being threatened with death if they stayed in their home.

Christians in Vietnam, especially those in the Central Highlands, are vulnerable to violent attacks; these are sometimes carried out by groups of thugs hired by the authorities to harass and intimidate Christians.

The Communist government sees Christianity as a threat and consequently restricts the activity of churches. Religious groups are required to register; leaders and members of unregistered groups are the most likely to face harassment, arrest and imprisonment, but even registered groups face state interference and intimidation.

New rules on religion that came into force at the start of the year increase restrictions and make it almost impossible for unregistered groups to obtain legal status.

– morning star news / barnabas team

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