One in ten Christians face persecution, discrimination

One in ten of the 2.2 billion Christians in the world face some degree of restriction, discrimination or outright persecution.

British peer David Alton said this amounts to 200 million people in 60 countries.

Persecution ranged from murder, rape and torture to repressive laws, discrimination and social exclusion, he said in a Guardian article.

One consequence was “a form of religio-ethnic cleansing of Christian communities”, said John Pontifex of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), a Catholic campaign group that monitors persecution.

“The persecution of Christians is at a level we’ve not seen for many, many years and the main impact is the migration of Christian people,” he said.

“There are huge swaths of the world which are now experiencing a very sharp decline in the number of Christians.”

According to the Pew Research Center, Christians face harassment in 102 countries – more than any other religion.

ACN’s 2014 report on religious freedom in the world said conditions had deteriorated in 55 countries, and significantly so in six countries: Iraq, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sudan and Syria.

Although Muslims “also face terrible and systematic persecution . . . and Jewish communities have also suffered increased threats and violence”, Christians were by far the most persecuted faith group, the report said.

Open Doors, a global organisation monitoring Christian persecution, conservatively estimated that 4344 Christians were killed for faith-related reasons in 12 months up to November, 2014, and 1062 churches were attacked.

On his recent trip to Latin America, Pope Francis said he was dismayed “to see how in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world many of our brothers and sisters are persecuted, tortured and killed for their faith in Jesus”.

He went on: “In this third world war, waged piecemeal, which we are now experiencing, a form of genocide is taking place, and it must end.”


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News category: World.

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