American journalist goes on hunger strike for persecuted Christians in India

SACRAMENTO, Calif., January 14, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — American journalist Pieter Friedrich kicked off the new year by leading a 7-day hunger strike in solidarity with persecuted Christians in India, which was rated by Open Doors United States as the 10th most dangerous country in the world to be a Christian.

“This is at least the third year in a row that they have ranked India as the tenth most dangerous country,” Friedrich said in an interview with Anglican priest Fr. Joshua Lickter. He added, “I chose to do this in order to stand in solidarity with the Indian Christian Church and to show persecuted Christians in India that there is someone – there is someone abroad, outside his country, a Christian – who understands what he is going through and who is ready to stand up and speak, or to s ‘temporarily starve.’

Friedrich, consuming only water, tea and coffee, had been on a hunger strike since the morning of January 5 in the morning of January 12.

Besides the open doors United States, the Voice of the Martyrs recently described the conditions of Indian Christians as “hostile”. Additionally, International Christian Concern awarded India as well as its Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, his “Persecutor of the Year” award, stating: “Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seized power in 2014, Christian persecution skyrocketed.” In 2021, United States The Commission on International Religious Freedom has recommended that the US State Department list India as a “country of particular concern” for the second consecutive year. “In 2020, for example, mobs – fueled by false accusations of forced conversions – attacked Christians, destroyed churches and disrupted religious services,” USCIRF warned in its latest report.

“Imagine if you are worshiping in any congregation you choose to attend, and all of a sudden a crowd comes in and they beat you up, they start beating whoever is leading that particular congregation, and the police come in and they start making arrests – but they’re not arresting anyone from the crowd, they’re just arresting you for being there in that congregation,” Father Licks said. “It’s the kind of thing that happens on a level increased in India at present. It’s so alarming.”

According to the United Christian Forum for Human Rights, a India-watch group based on Christians, all over the world India suffered more than 500 attacks in 2021. The Forum reports that the number of attacks has increased every year since 2014. They reported 127 attacks in 2014; their 2021 figures show a fourfold increase in seven years.

“My hope, my prayer, is that American Christian clergy — beyond my hunger strike, as they hopefully begin to have the opportunity to be informed and educated on the matter — be encouraged and provoked to speak out and stand up in solidarity with their brothers and sisters who suffer in India“, said Friedrich. “The American christian church, unfortunately, and I think it is due to ignorance, is almost entirely silent on this issue.”

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