International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on the afternoon of Jan. 26, 10 Christian families consisting of 18 adults and 10 children were expelled from the community of Tuxpan de Bolanos in the state of Jalisco, Mexico, for refusing to recant their faith. At 3 p.m., a town assembly agreement to evict these families from the community was executed by local citizens who gathered the Baptist believers into a pickup truck and abandoned them in the nearby mountains.
Currently, the regional president of the Baptist community, Omar Rodriguez, has made arrangements with the city government of Guadalajara to house the expelled families, while the city has also been asked to dispatch police patrols to transport them to safety.
This is the latest incident in a decades-long system of persecution of evangelical Christian in rural Mexico, as well as further evidence of the continued reluctance by the state and federal government to protect religious minorities. In June, ICC estimated that more than 70 open cases of religious persecution against minority Christian communities, each involving between 20-100 victims, existed in the states of Chiapas, Hidalgo, Oaxaca, Puebla and Guerrero. Sadly, ICC can now add the state of Jalisco to this list.
Despite the lack of interest by the Mexican federal government to address this alarming trend, there are those in the United States government who are working to end this persecution. On July 15, Senator Marco Rubio questioned Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson, the current nominee for next U.S. ambassador to Mexico, on how she would address this trend with the Mexican government.
Nate Lance, ICC's advocacy manager, stated, "ICC is disturbed to learn of another instance of religious minorities being expelled by local governments on the basis of their faith. It is equally disturbing that despite being notified of multiple cases of persecution throughout rural Mexico, the state and federal government refuse to protect their religious minorities or prosecute perpetrators. As a result, these families are now religious refugees in their own country. In the strongest terms, we demand that the government of Mexico intervene and reinstate the freedom of worship that their constitution is meant to guarantee."
ICC is a Washington, D.C.-based human rights organization that exists to help persecuted Christians worldwide. ICC provides awareness, advocacy and assistance to the worldwide persecuted church. Visit persecution.org for more information.
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