As this new report shows, the global pandemic has not brought relief from persecution to the world’s Christians. In fact, it’s just the opposite: “Covid-19, the report claims, acted as a catalyst for religious persecution through relief discrimination, forced conversions, and as justification for increasing surveillance and censorship.”
Ultimately we know that the cross that so many Orthodox Christians and Christians of other faith traditions are carrying worldwide will lead to the resurrection. That is the great hope that our faith gives us.
At this time, however, the darkness and horror that Christians face on a daily basis is expanding. Combating it must be a priority for all the world’s governments.
For previous ChristianPersecution.com coverage of the persecution of Christians in the Middle East and elsewhere, and the imminent disappearance of Christianity from some of its ancient strongholds, see here.
“13 Christians killed every day in the world because of their faith,” by Linda Bordoni, Vatican News, January 13, 2021:
Every day, 13 Christians worldwide are killed because of their faith, 12 churches or Christian buildings are attacked and 12 Christians are unjustly arrested or imprisoned, while another 5 are abducted.
This is according to the 2021 World Watch List annual report produced by Open Doors, a non-profit organization that chronicles persecution against Christians, guides prayers and shows persecuted believers that they are not forgotten….
In the listed nations, the report says there are 309 million Christians living in places with “very high” or “extreme” levels of persecution. That’s up 260 million from those accounted for last year.
The report also says another 31 million could be added from the 24 nations that fall just outside the top 50 – such as Cuba, Sri Lanka, the United Arab Emirates.
If you do the maths, this means that 1 in 8 Christians worldwide are facing persecution. Analysing the data, Open Doors identifies some to the main trends driving the increase in numbers.
Islamist fundamentalism in Sub-Saharan Africa
Covid-19, the report claims, acted as a catalyst for religious persecution through relief discrimination, forced conversions, and as justification for increasing surveillance and censorship. Another factor driving the increased suffering of Christians is to be found in more extremist attacks throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, from Nigeria and Cameroon to Burkina Faso, Mali and beyond.
This year, the top 10 worst persecutors are relatively unchanged. After North Korea is Afghanistan, followed by Somalia, Libya, Pakistan, Eritrea, Yemen, Iran, Nigeria and India.
Sudan left the top 10 for the first time in six years, after abolishing the death penalty for apostasy ad guaranteeing freedom of religion in its new Constitution after three decades of Islamic Law. Yet, it remains n. 13 on the list, as Open Doors researchers noted Christians from Muslim backgrounds still face attacks, ostracization and discrimination from their families and communities, while Christian women face sexual violence….