The referendum taking place this week in the Southern Sudan on whether the region should remain part of Sudan or become its own independent state has enjoyed a high voter turnout, according to official reports, despite criticism from international communist groups and the Russian and Chinese governments. The region includes Darfur, known to be a hotbed of genocidal activity against the native African population, much of which is Christian, by the majority Sudanese Arab Janjaweed militias. The region has for decades been the scene of policies akin to religious and racially-motivated "ethnic cleansing."

In the aftermath of a Christmas season filled with anti-Christian violence in Nigeria, Iraq, and Egypt, Christian leaders around the world have called for prayers for those undergoing persecution, and have also called upon the governments that have thus far proven impotent to stop such attacks to step up to their responsibility to protect their citizens.

History is set to be made in Southern Sudan as its people are widely expected to vote for independence from the North in a referendum that is now ongoing. But tensions are intensifying along the proposed border, which runs through some of the most fertile land in the country.

In the aftermath of the attack by Muslim terrorists on a church in Alexandria, Egypt, new revelations are casting further doubt on claims by the Mubarak government that “all Egypt is the target” of the bombings, and not just members of the Coptic Christian community.

JesusThis year’s Christmastide has been marked by widespread Jihadist terrorism against the Christian Church. Numerous attacks against churches in Nigeria were among the first to draw international attention, but the violence was by no means limited to one country. In Iraq, church leaders had decided to downplay Christmas observances out of fear of a repetition of the October 31 massacre at Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad; the public celebration of Christmas was virtually canceled. However, such prudence was unable to avert the violent intentions of Muslim terrorists, who chose instead to launch attacks on Christians homes throughout Baghdad. As Iraqi priest who presided at the funeral of an elderly couple murdered in the attacks, Fr. Nadhir Dakko, declared: “Iraq is bleeding every day.”

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