Raymond Ibrahim: Yemen’s Forgotten Christians

Over at Gatestone Institute (via RaymondIbrahim.com), I discuss the plight of an invisible minority surrounded by a sea of hostility:

When one thinks of Yemen””the impoverished Arab country that begat Osama bin Laden and is cushioned between Saudi Arabia and Somalia, two of the absolute most radical Muslim nations””one seldom thinks of Christians, primarily because they are practically nonexistent in such an inhospitable environment. In fact, most tallies suggest that Yemen’s entire non-Muslim population is less than one percent.

However, a new Arabic report discusses the existence of Christians in Yemen, and their plight””a plight that should be familiar by now, wherever Christian minorities live under Muslim majorities.

Unofficial statistics suggest that there are some 2,500 indigenous Christians in the nation, practicing their faith underground, even as hostile tribes surround them. According to human rights activist, Abdul Razzaq al-Azazi, “Christians in Yemen cannot practice their religion nor can they go to church freely. Society would work on having them enter Islam.”

He added that, as in most Muslim countries, “the government does not permit the establishment of buildings or worship places without prior permission,” pointing out that Roman Catholic officials, for example, are currently awaiting a decision from the government on whether they will be allowed to construct a building and be officially recognized by the government in Sana.

A convert to Christianity””an apostate from Islam whose life is forfeit and who naturally prefers to remain anonymous, going by the pseudonym, “Ibn Yemen” (Son of Yemen)””expressed his fear of increased pressure on Christians, especially since the “Islamists now represent the dominant political faction, following the Arab Spring and the protests that brought the fall of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.” He added that even though the old regime “was not Islamist, Christians were still subjected to persecution and scrutiny by the police apparatus under that regime. Authorities did not allow us to practice our religion openly or allow us to build a private church, all because of Islam’s apostasy law. What do you think it will be like now that the Islamists are in power?”…

Continue reading.

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Comments

  1. says

    Wow! Yemen was long one of the most closed countries on earth, and now they say there may be 2500 indigenous Yemeni Christians? Hallelujah! The gates of Hell are under siege!

    I’m aware that there was a Christian presence in Yemen before Islam, and that they were persecuted by a Jewish king (Dhu Nuwas or sosmething like that); but it was my impression that there hasn’t been an indigenous Christian presence in Yemen for quite some time, and that the only non-Islamic minority was Jewish.

    Ibn Yemen, whoever you are, you have my prayers.

  2. says

    Raymond Ibrahim: Yemen’s Forgotten Christians

    Over at Gatestone Institute (via RaymondIbrahim.com), I discuss the plight of an invisible minority surrounded by a sea of hostility
    …………………………..

    This describes Christians in so much of Dar-al-Islam.

    More:

    A convert to Christianity”an apostate from Islam whose life is forfeit and who naturally prefers to remain anonymous, going by the pseudonym, “Ibn Yemen” (Son of Yemen)”expressed his fear of increased pressure on Christians, especially since the “Islamists now represent the dominant political faction, following the Arab Spring and the protests that brought the fall of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.” He added that even though the old regime “was not Islamist, Christians were still subjected to persecution and scrutiny by the police apparatus under that regime. Authorities did not allow us to practice our religion openly or allow us to build a private church, all because of Islam’s apostasy law. What do you think it will be like now that the Islamists are in power?”…
    …………………………..

    This sounds like the situation in so much of the increasingly Islamized Muslim world, where Christians and other religious minorities has gone from very bad to much, much worse.

    “Arab Spring”, indeed. sarc/off

  3. says

    He and his companions in the underground church have my prayers, also.

    I knew such people existed.

    Years ago, on the United Bible Societies website, in a collection of ‘human interest’ type stories from around the world, I read about a couple in Yemen who had left Islam and converted to Christianity. (I cannot provide a link to it, because they massively reshuffled their website and, seemingly, gave up making their newsletter stories readily readable; and at the time, I did not think to copy the whole story into my own files, with date and time).

    But anyway, the outline of the story was this: a couple in Yemen; hubbie goes off to work for a while in one of the more prosperous ‘Gulf States’ (some of which have large expat Christian populations, who are ministered to in various ways), and there encounters the Christian gospel, and becomes a Christian; when he comes home the first hint his wife has that a Revolution has occurred, is when he walks in the door and addresses her as ‘my dear wife’ and asks if she would like a cup of tea. His subsequent conduct toward her is so consistently kind, gentle, considerate and generally pleasant, that she can hardly believe he is the same man he used to be….Eventually she finds out that it’s because he’s become a Christian and is taking seriously St Paul’s pastoral counsel to husbands to love their wives. And having decided she likes her new and improved man, and wants whatever it is that has made him so much nicer to be around, she converts to Christianity too…result, a newly-minted Christian couple in the Underground Church of Yemen.

    Then, too, there was this story from 2008, right here at jihadwatch, about authorities in Yemen finding nine – ex-Muslim – Christians to arrest. There were *nine* ex-Muslims. In a place as fanatically steeped in Islam as Yemen, that was extraordinary.

    http://www.jihadwatch.org/2008/08/yemen-detains-9-people-for-converting-from-islam-to-christianity.html

    Yemen detains 9 people for converting from Islam to Christianity