A new Facebook campaign, My Treedom, is using photos of Christmas trees to stand in solidarity with Chrsitians persecuted around the world.
My Treedom is a Facebook campaign that posts daily photographs of Christmas trees and other holiday celebrations from some of the hardest places for practising Christians to live. It was launched by foreign affairs journalist Lisa Daftaria and is intended to celebrate "freedom from persecution and the right to Christmas everywhere around the world."
Pictures of Christians celebrating Christmas have been sent from Pakistan, where violence against Christians is widespread, and Kurdish areas of Iraq, just miles from the ISIS front line. All identities are protected in the photos.
"We are talking about countries where Christians made up a sizeable and significant segmant of the native population. Many have had to flee their countries or face brutal persecution, solely because of their faith," Daftari said.
Daftari works as a journalist in the middle east and was the first to break the story about Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani and later pastor Saeed Abedini, who were both arrested in Iran for their faith.
"The goal is to raise awareness about the increased threat of global Christian persecution that is often missing from political headlines these days," Daftari said.
The campaign has garnered responses from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran and Somalia. There have been photos of large Christmas trees in Saudi Arabian shopping malls next to people celebrating secretly in underground churches. The Facebook page has gained almost 12,000 likes since its launch in early December this year.
Each month, 322 Christians are killed for their faith and 214 churches and property belonging to Christians are destroyed, according to Christian persecution charity, Open Doors.
"Attacks on Christians around the world pose a grave danger to the lives of innocent people simply trying to live out their faith. Some are children, such as in Syria and Nigeria, who have done nothing to attract the aim of antagonists except belong to Christian families," Jeff M Sellers, editor of Morning Star News, a publication dedicated to the coverage of Christian persecution, said in an interview with The Foreign Desk.
"The plight of Christians worldwide has grown with the expansion of Islamic terrorist groups into international organizations with affiliates and sympathizers around the globe," Sellers said.
The campaign hopes to stand for freedom and religious liberty while drawing attention to injustice and persecution.