Monday, October 20, 2008

The neglected majority

American news media, when they cover international events at all, tend to focus on wars, disasters, Europe and the Middle East – and ignore most of the rest of the world.

It’s high time they (and we) pay more attention to South Asia – and not just because a dangerously unstable Pakistan is located there. The region also contains India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Maldives.

Why should you care about these places? Here are eight reasons among many:

-- More people live in India than in all of North America, Central America and South America – combined.

-- There are more than 800 million Hindus in India, nearly three times the population of the United States.

-- The seven countries of South Asia are home to about one out of five people in the world. Most have never heard the Gospel even once.

-- More Muslims live in South Asia than in the entire Middle East.

-- India is the second-largest Muslim country in the world, despite the fact that Muslims are an often-persecuted minority there. Christians also number in the millions in India, but are an even smaller minority – and are experiencing increasing persecution by militant Hindus.

-- Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries in the world, with about 85 percent professing Muslims. The other 15 percent are Hindus, with some Buddhists, tribals and Christians.

-- Maldives is 99.4 percent Muslim, and it is against the law for a visitor to enter the country with more than one Bible.

-- South Asia’s unengaged, unreached people groups (less than 2 percent evangelized, with no Christian mission groups actively seeking to reach them) have a population of more than 400 million people.

Is this huge, hungry slice of humanity worthy of our prayers, our resources, perhaps some of our lives?

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