This Saturday, a march to break the silence of religious persecution will be held in D.C.

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For many Christians around the world, religious freedom is a luxury. According to Open Doors International, more than 365 million face discrimination, persecution and violence—all for simply practicing their faith.

GIA CHACÓN
Founder, For the Martyrs

They're facing loss of their businesses. They're being kidnapped and tortured. They're being treated as second class citizens. For example, in a country like Egypt, where For the Martyrs has done a lot of work, it's legal to be a Christian. So the government allows Christianity, but you're very much seen as a second class citizen in comparison to your Muslim brothers and sisters. And paint a picture of what that would be like: if you're accused of a crime and you have to go to court, your testimony is going to be seen as less half than your Muslim brother or sister or your Muslim neighbor.

For the Martyrs is an organization Gia Chacón started after witnessing the struggles of Christians around the world. It is dedicated to breaking the silence of religious persecution.

One of the main events for the organization is the March for the Martyrs. Since 2020, hundreds of people gather each year in Washington D.C. to draw attention to the ongoing crisis of persecution around the world.

GIA CHACÓN
Founder, For the Martyrs

It's the first and only large scale march in the United States that brings together Christians across all denominations as one voice for the persecuted Church. And this is such an important event because, and many people don't know, that Christians are the most persecuted religious group and Christian persecution is actually increasing every single year.

Gia says there has been a spike in religious persecution in recent years. For example, in communist countries like Nicaragua, religious organizations are being expelled and priests and bishops arrested. But in China, persecution has taken on a modern form.

GIA CHACÓN
Founder, For the Martyrs

And actually persecution in China has gone digital. So they monitor what's going on inside of churches. They use facial recognition technology to see who's going to church, who's leaving, who's frequenting Bible studies. They're monitoring what they're saying online, and it's actually gives them a ding, a social credit score ding, so to speak.

For the Martyrs gives names to the people behind the data. To date, the organization has been serving in countries across the globe like Egypt, Jordan and Iraq.

KG

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