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Freedom Now – Working Online to Free the Enslaved Christians of Sudan
The internet is changing Christian ministry in many ways. One of the most encouraging developments is the growing number of websites devoted to exposing details of the persecuted church.
After all, the widespread dissemination of information is crucial in mobilising the church’s response to persecution. And the internet is ideal.
Until recently most such websites were from the official organisations that have been leading the campaign to fight discrimination against Christians. But now there are also sites set up by individuals or groups with only loose connections to the traditional anti-persecution bodies. They act as portals, gathering data from many sources.
I have already written previously about Chosun Journal and about Christian Monitor, two superb websites.
I don’t know what took me so long, but I’ve just found another, Freedom Now, run by a former New York cop, Maria Sliwa. It has a special focus on the appalling atrocities encountered in Sudan, where as many as two million people have been victims of genocide, and where thousands of Christians have been forced into conditions of slavery.
The main thrust of Freedom Now is its news service, distributed weekly to over 100,000 recipients from media, human rights, government and religious groups. This has become a key source of global human rights and persecution news. The website itself is mainly a collection of links to articles.
However, something else makes Freedom Now unique – it is the person of Maria herself. As the New York Daily News wrote last year:
There is something special about Freedom Now: Maria Sliwa is all of it, a stunning example of what one person can do for a cause. No paid researchers, no staff or special equipment, just Sliwa in her office-apartment in New York, shaking people all over the world into consciousness of slavery with all the knowledge she has packed into her 42-year-old brain, and all the energy in her body.
Charisma News Service wrote:
She campaigns for more Christian involvement in fighting persecution, noting that non-Christian groups who see a "heavy-duty human-rights issue" are becoming more vocal about atrocities against Christians. "Christians should be yelling and screaming about the 31 countries where brothers and sisters are being brutalized because of their faith," she said.
She is an activist who has travelled to Sudan herself, to help enslaved Christians and to report on conditions there to the outside world. On one particularly horrendous trip she recorded details of how boy slaves are repeatedly raped by their masters.
With the people of Iraq now liberated from the horrors of Saddam Hussein, it is possible that people in the West will start to believe that a new age of global freedom has begun.
But the brutal regime in Sudan is even more murderous than that of Iraq. We must continue to struggle for the liberation of those suffering in that country. That is why Maria’s work and her website are so important. Please give her your support.
June 6th, 2003