Laos (International Christian Concern) – For over three months, four Lao Christians have been jailed in the country’s Khammouane province for planning a Christian funeral that is contrary to the local customs.
According to Radio Free Asia (RFA), on July 3, the four Christians travelled to Khammouane’s Phousath village to attend a funeral that was deemed by village authorities to have violated Lao customs and “divided community solidarity.” As a result, they were arrested before they could conduct the Christian ceremonies, said a Phousath village official.
The local villagers wanted to perform ceremonies for the deceased Christian “according to our culture handed down to us by our ancestors,” the official continued, “When someone dies, we help by making donations, sharing food, and asking [Buddhist] monks to come and pray at the home.”
“But [the Christians] wanted to do things that violate our traditional customs. They were preparing things that we felt were strange and wrong and do not understand, and so we acted in order to prevent them from happening,” he said.