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3 - To Whom Do We Turn? How Christians Respond to Religious Persecution

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 February 2018

Daniel Philpott
Affiliation:
University of Notre Dame, Indiana
Timothy Samuel Shah
Affiliation:
Georgetown University, Washington DC
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Summary

Based on research focused on three African countries—Kenya, Nigeria, and Sudan—this essay is devoted to deepening understanding of how Christian communities respond to religious persecution and the consequences of those responses on the prospects for greater religious freedom in the future. In Nigeria and Kenya, where persecution has been perpetrated by societal groups rather than the state, Christian leaders’ efforts to appeal to government and to engage in inter-religious dialogue with Muslim religious leaders have been effective in providing Christians greater security and religious freedom. In Sudan, where the state has been the primary perpetrator of persecution, Christian leaders have found it difficult to engage the government on the issue of persecution and inter-religious dialogue has been less effective. However, there is evidence to suggest that Sudan’s government is sensitive to carefully applied international pressure when it comes to high-profile cases of Christian persecution. In sum, the chapter points to evidence from Kenya, Nigeria, and Sudan to suggest that, (1) under conditions of societal persecution, inter-religious efforts to promote religious tolerance and mutual respect can successfully achieve their goals and, (2) under conditions of state-sponsored persecution, discreetly applied international pressure can be impactful.
Type
Chapter
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Under Caesar's Sword
How Christians Respond to Persecution
, pp. 70 - 101
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2018

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