Christians told to renounce Jesus or be refused coronavirus aid - 'Let your God take care of your family'

A woman prays inside a church outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in this file photo. Reuters/file

Christians are being told to renounce their faith in Jesus or have their coronavirus aid support for their families taken away.

Various reports are highlighting the persecution against Christians in countries across south-east Asia and Sudan. Open Doors International's Jan Vermeer has reported that the organisation has been "inundated with reports of Christians telling us their communities would only give them food if they re-converted back to their original faith."

That has led to some families opting to "return to their dominant religion in their country", however Vermeer has said others have even "contemplated suicide" amid the intensifying persecution they are facing.

The reports from Vermeer have been backed up by Pastor Sam of Open Doors Southeast Asia, who described that in rural Bangladesh "governments are giving assistance to a lot of people, but many Christians, especially those who come from a Muslim background or a Buddhist background, are not receiving the support when it goes to the villages."

He added, "The village head normally discriminates against the Christians. They say, 'Well, you're Christian. You became a Christian so you are not part of this support."

Pastor Sam explained, "People may die or convert back to Islam if they don't have the means to survive."

He said that without the support that Open Doors was providing in some regions "many Christians would certainly die of malnutrition and starvation, or decide that following Jesus is too hard."

"Many of these new believers only have a fragile faith and need to become stronger in the Lord," he said.

Meanwhile, in Sudan Open Doors reports that Christian converts are facing homelessness and starvation amid Covid-19 lockdowns unless they give up their faith in Jesus and return to Islam.

One local pastor has told Open Doors: "Believers from Muslim backgrounds have to be entirely self-reliant because they aren't given any support from their family, tribes or community, because of their faith. But because people aren't able to work in lockdown they don't have money for food and are finding themselves being kicked out of their homes, unable to pay rent."

He added, "When Christian converts do ask for help from their Muslim community, they are told they have to give up Christianity if they want to be helped. It is a tragedy."

Meanwhile, in rural east Malaysia, Open Doors reports that a group of Christian students were told by their local mosque amid the local coronavirus lockdown that they would not receive any food aid unless they converted back to Islam.

In northern Vietnam, more than 100 Christians, many of whom were elderly or children, were denied food aid by the government because of their faith, according to Open Doors. Authorities told the group of 107 people: "You are Christians and your God shall take care of your family! The government is not responsible for your families!"