Open Doors expresses North Korea concerns in wake of journalists’ release

The release of American journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling from North Korean custody to former President Bill Clinton earlier this week has been a source of joy for the families involved and raised Clinton’s diplomatic profile. While recognizing this, Open Doors expressed concern for the thousands of prisoners still in North Korean prisons, particularly Christians. Open Doors is a California-based ministry which serves the persecuted church internationally with Bibles and leadership training. Open Doors estimates North Korea jails about 200,000 inmates, about 40,000 to 60,000 are Christians. Owning a Bible, speaking negatively about the dictatorial regime of Kim Jong—Il or travelling to China to look for food are all crimes which can end in imprisonment, according to Open Doors media relations director Jerry Dykstra. This year North Korea was re-designated by the U.S. State Department as one of eight “Countries of Particular Concern” for its severe religious freedom violations. The Open Doors World Watch List of the worst persecutors of Christians has ranked the country as the worst offender of religious freedom for seven years in a row. “Yes, we should rejoice for Ling and Lee,” Dykstra wrote in a commentary. “They now have complete freedom in the United States. “But please join me in praying and advocating for those who have not received pardons; for those languishing in the ‘hell’ that is North Korea.” Links: Christian work inside North Korea a serious challenge with vastly different approaches: http://www.everydaychristian.com/features/story/2786/ The story behind Clinton’s trip to North Korea: http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/08/05/nkorea.journalists.background/index.html Open Doors: http://www.opendoorsusa.org/

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