Christians and other minority faiths suffer worldwide. Believers are targeted by extremist groups, social hostilities, and government oppression. Collectively more people are persecuted for their faith than any time ever. 215 million Christians experience high levels of persecution globally – which is 1 in 12 (Open Doors World Watch List). 83% of people live in a place with high or very high levels of persecution (Pew Research Center).
Forms of persecution include the imminent extinction of ancient faith groups; forced “marriages,” human trafficking and enslavement; rape as a weapon of war; conversion prohibitions, even on threat of death; imprisonment of leaders and their defenders; destruction of holy sites; massive artificial intelligence monitoring and internet firewalls; government restrictions designed to choke religious flourishing; and forced displacement of entire religious minorities.
Facing systemic injustices, those persecuted for their faith or beliefs are desperate for protection, equipping and partnering. Western people of faith have resources and a willingness to act, but few find it easy to provide practical help to the persecuted. Threatened groups worldwide need partners – to challenge harmful government policies, free imprisoned leaders, and, protect from aggression, even genocide. We are at a tipping point moment for civil society. Now is the time to act. History has proven that people of faith can ignite successful social action.
Our desire at 21Wilberforce is to connect those who want to take action through advocacy and support with persecuted minority faiths, including Christians, needing defenders, empowerment, and crisis interventions. Towards this end, we have created The Freedom Center, a new collection of online tools and resources including step-by-step suggestions and examples for anyone who wants to become more active in raising awareness and strengthening the voices of those persecuted for their faith or belief around the world.
The Freedom Center features tangible resources – IRF training and communications materials, both collected and original, including videos for easy instructing; social media tools to promote “fast advocacy” on religious prisoners and IRF campaigns with the U.S. Government and foreign governments; crowdfunding for overseas legal defenders for the imprisoned and persecuted, partnering with groups plugged into legal networks and to help support the families of martyrs and wrongfully imprisoned faith leaders; a calendar of IRF events; and a library featuring useful materials to learn more about IRF issues and acquire specific skills to take action.
“The time is ripe for fresh resources to inspire and equip for advocacy,” President Randel Everett says. “21Wilberforce wants to provide specific tools and guidance for how to do that effectively. We will continue to add new resources throughout the coming months.”
Like our namesake, William Wilberforce—the faith-inspired social activist who led the move to end British slavery—21Wilberforce embraces a top-down, bottom-up approach to defending freedom of conscience and religious belief. Using The Freedom Center, you can help provide practical help and timely encouragement to those persecuted for their beliefs. Join us. Help the persecuted.
Visit The Freedom Center
Photo caption: Displaced Iraq women from the minority Yazidi sect, who field the Iraqi town of Sinjar, walk in the Khanki camp on the outskirts of Dohuk province in July 2019. On the fifth anniversary of genocide against Yazidis, a Yazidi lawmaker, Saih Khider, said “This is not a memory. We are still living this genocide today, in all its details. Our wounds are still open.” Photo credit: Reuters/Ari Jai