At a time when the persecution of Christians around the world is as rampant as it’s underreported, a nondenominational, nongovernmental Christian watchdog group headquartered in Washington, D.C., is battling the scourge by providing assistance to victims and raising public awareness about their plight.
The organization, International Christian Concern (ICC), regularly spotlights countries or regions where religious intolerance, frequently characterized by violence and forced displacement, is common.
ICC was founded in 1995 by Steve Snyder, an evangelical minister and native of San Diego, California, who was the U.S. director of Christian Solidarity International, an international group that worked on persecution issues in communist countries during the 1980s. Snyder, who died in 2002, created ICC to focus on the persecution of Christians in Islamic countries.
The organization considers itself as “a bridge between believers in free countries and believers in persecuted countries,” according to the ICC mission statement. In addition to “encouragement, prayers, and aid” that flow into the persecuted countries, ICC functions as a conduit for “the voices and concerns of the persecuted,” which serve as a call to action by the wider Christian world.
ICC is a valuable resource for those who want to keep abreast of the latest developments in the oppression of Christians and their faith, sometimes at the hands of governments.
The organization’s activities fall under three categories: First, ICC publishes an online newsletter that calls attention to Christian persecution issues around the world. Second, the group discusses its own work in the affected regions. Finally, ICC regularly disseminates news statements on a wide variety of issues—whether social, political, economic, or health-related—that impact Christians.
On May 26, for example, the ICC website carried an article about the rise of Christianity in Iran. Titled “Iran’s Shadow Church,” focusing on the popularity of Christianity as the fastest-growing religion in the Islamic theocracy. A May 27 article highlighted the plight of a Christian evangelical pastor in Laos, who, along with his daughter, is allegedly being persecuted by state authorities for his evangelical activities.
ICC newsletters have recently reported on an array of issues. They range from sectarian tensions in an Egyptian village following a city council’s decision to demolish a mosque and church located next to each other; the release of an American pastor in India following seven months of detention on charges of violating foreign currency laws; and a violent police raid on a house church in China.
The ICC website also features a weekly podcast on issues related to the persecution of Christians around the world. Hosted by Jeff King, an evangelist who succeeded Snyder as ICC president in 2002, the podcast focuses on such issues as the backlash that many Muslim converts to Christianity face in their home countries and Christianity’s threat to the North Korean regime.
Besides options for volunteering, ICC also offers a free subscription to its monthly magazine, titled Persecution.
From its beginnings, the Church of Scientology has recognized that freedom of religion is a fundamental human right. In a world where conflicts are often traceable to intolerance of others’ religious beliefs and practices, the Church has, for more than 50 years, made the preservation of religious liberty an overriding concern.
The Church publishes this blog to help create a better understanding of the freedom of religion and belief and provide news on religious freedom and issues affecting this freedom around the world.