Did atheist N. Korea's leaders really say they'll "pray" for Kim Jong-il?

Why have his successors called for three minutes of prayer at the end of his official mourning period?

Continued from page 1

But in the Communist north’s capital, religion advocates say the four remaining church buildings are purely window-dressing. According to the September 21, 2004 Annual Report of the U. S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, “there is little evidence that the Catholic and Protestant churches meet for Sunday services when there are not foreigners in the city requesting to attend.

The late Kim Jong-il

“Evidence suggests that underground churches operate in secret under the extremely repressive conditions in North Korea.”

Indeed, North Korea has the most severe persecution of Christians in the world, according to the Christian advocacy group, Open Doors, which says 50,000 to 70,000 Christians are imprisoned in labor camps

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because they refuse to deny their faith.

The rest of North Korea’s population has fared little better.

“Kim Jong-il, like his father before him, left millions of North Koreans mired in poverty, without access to adequate food and healthcare, and with hundreds of thousands of people detained in brutal prison camps,” said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific director.

“Amnesty International has documented North Korea’s abysmal human rights record for years. Freedom of expression and association are almost non-existent. Hundreds of thousands of people deemed to oppose the state are held in detention camps such as the notorious Yodok facility, which detain family members up to three generations. Inmates are forced into hard labor for up to 12 hours a day.”

An official Korean Communist party photo of Kim Jong-Il

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Rob Kerby
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