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Yemen: Christian priest detained, tortured for four years

Persecution of Christians in Yemen: this story indicates yet again how threatened authorities in many areas of the world are by converts to Christianity. Converts such as Mushir Khalidi are often seen as threats to the authority of the state, and persecuted as if their conversion were tantamount to sedition.

There are very few Christians in Yemen, and those who are there, which include a very small number of Orthodox Christians, live an extremely precarious existence. According to Open Doors USA, “They face persecution from the authorities (including detention and interrogation), their families and radical Islamic groups who threaten converts with death if they do not re-convert.” There are only four churches remaining in Aden, three Roman Catholic and one Anglican. Most of the people who attend them are not Yemenis. Please pray that Yemeni society would be blessed with a new opening to the light of the Holy Gospel.

For more ChristianPersecution.com coverage of the persecution of Christians in Yemen, see here.

“Yemeni Christian priest detained, tortured by Houthis for four years,” Asharq al-Awsat, February 9, 2021:

DUBAI: Yemeni Christians, alongside the country’s Baha’i adherents and what is left of its Jewish community, face great oppression at the hands of the Houthi militia, with no better example than the fate of Mushir Khalidi.

The 50-year-old priest has been imprisoned by the group’s intelligence services for four years, as part of a campaign of arrests launched by the group agains the estimated 2,000 Christians in territory it controls.

The presence of Yemen’s ancient Jewish community is all but over, with the Houthis’ insistence on deporting the last two families left in Sana’a. The militia has also deported the leaders of the Baha’i sect, while continuing to prosecute 19 members, despite its claim last year that it would pardon them after four years of detentions.

Sources in the Sana’a told Asharq Al-Awsat daily that the Houthi militia specifically targeted Yemeni Christians and arrested many of them, including Khalidi, a convert, who was allegedly subjected to torture in prison. Houthi intelligence continues to investigate others whose religious beliefs have not yet been disclosed, especially since most of the Yemeni converts to Christianity have already left the country.

Khalidi’s family have avoided talking about his imprisonment for fear of repercussions against him, but one former prisoner, recently released from a Houthi jail, told Asharq Al-Awsat that he met Khalidi and others in detention, and said that the priest was arrested after the militia took control of Sana’a, saying his jailers kept him in solitary confinement for weeks at a time. He added that other Christian prisoners had been forced to recant their religious beliefs under torture.

Two of Khalidi’s friends told Asharq Al-Awsat, on condition of anonymity, that he converted to Christianity in the mid-1990s, and that the Yemeni Christian community, having previously performed religious rituals secretly in various locations in Sana’a, Taiz and Ibb, and mostly fled to Lebanon, Cyprus and elsewhere since the outbreak of war….

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