#39 in Christian persecution, Brunei
SCORE64 REGIONAsia PERSECUTION TYPEDictatorial paranoia RELIGIONIslam PERSECUTION LEVELVery High POPULATION445,000 CHRISTIAN52,000 GOVERNMENTAbsolute Monarchy LEADERSultan Hassanal Bolkiah PROFILE OF PERSECUTION Violence 0.7/16.7Church Life 13.5/16.7National Life 10.9/16.7Community Life 10.7/16.7Family Life 14.6/16.7Private Life 13.9/16.7 How the scoring worksDownload country dossier with in-depth research What does persecution look like in Brunei? What is life like for Christians? In Brunei, leaving Islam for another religion is illegal—so converts from Islam who follow Jesus encounter significant persecution from both local and national sources. Converts can be disowned by their families, and forced to divorce their spouse and to leave the family home. Married converts to Christianity from Islam also lose custody of their children. Non-traditional Christian communities cannot be registered as churches and instead, usually have to be registered as companies, organizations or family centers. So, they are treated as secular business entities and are required to annually submit their financial and operational reports to the government. Every level of society in Brunei is affected by the continuing introduction of Shariah law. The full implementation of Shariah law in 2019 raised international concern for what it would mean for Brunei, and even a year later, the meaning of the law for Christians is still somewhat unclear, though it seems to generally not have been implemented against Christians. Meet “Elora” “Believers are not willing to take risks. Parents choose not to send their children to public church events either. Some of my friends have even said they don’t see a place for themselves in the church anymore.” What has changed in Brunei? Brunei’s rank on the 2021 World Watch List is two spots lower than it was on last year’s list. And yet, persecution actually rose slightly in this tiny kingdom. Pressure increased in most areas of life for Christians. Even though overt violence remains a remote risk for most followers of Jesus, many feel intense discrimination and abuse. Who is most vulnerable to persecution? Since the kingdom is so small, there are no real geographic differences or any kind of rural/urban split for persecution. Converts from Islam are particularly targeted, especially because they are breaking the law. They can have their rights denied and sometimes prefer to go abroad rather than live in where they experience constant, strong pressure. What does Open Doors do to help Christians in Brunei? The announcement of Shariah penal law in May of 2014—and its full implementation in April 2019—has heightened believers’ fears. Open Doors urges prayer support for believers in Brunei and for the local churches, as they experience mounting pressure from the government. Pray also for church leaders who greatly need biblical equipping, particularly in dealing with growing religious restrictions. Population statistic: Johnson T M and Zurlo G A, eds., World Christian Database (Leiden/Boston: Brill, accessed February 2020).
Pray for Brunei
The believers of Brunei face many challenges in living out their faith for Christ. The many Islamic laws in the country have been squeezing the church for decades, making it ineffective for the advancement of the Kingdom of God. Pray that God will break that squeeze and release His church to be a blessing to this nation. As Islam grows, pray that God will strengthen the church there.
This country seems closed to the gospel. Laws are in place to prevent anyone from reaching out to the people of Brunei with the message of salvation. Please pray for God to open the doors of this country so that many will come to faith in Christ, for only He can create such a miracle.
Pray also for the church in Brunei, that God would bless them and use them for His kingdom. Pray for wisdom for pastors and church leaders, as they identify ways to encourage their members to be faithful to Him, as well as be salt and light for the nation.
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