Christian Persecution May/Jun 2020

by Raymond Ibrahim
Originally published by Gatestone Institute

The global persecution of Christians has reached unprecedented levels: “260 million Christians experience high levels of persecution” around the world, noted the recently published Open Doors World Watch List 2020, an annual report that ranks the top 50 countries where Christians are most persecuted for their faith.

Additionally, the report said, “2,983 Christians were killed for faith-related reasons. On average, that’s 8 Christians killed every day for their faith”; “9,488 churches or Christian buildings were attacked,” and “3,711 Christians were detained without trial, arrested, sentenced and imprisoned.”

Dictatorial paranoia continues to make North Korea (#1) the worst nation. Christians found there are instantly “deported to labor camps as political criminals or even killed on the spot.”

Not only does “Islamic oppression” remain the chief “source of persecution” faced by Christians in seven of the absolute 10 worst nations, but 38 of the 50 nations composing the list are either Muslim-majority or have a sizeable Muslim population.

Most of these Muslim nations are governed by Sharia (Islamic law) directly enforced by government or society. Here is a brief summary of seven Muslim nations making the top 10:

Afghanistan (#2) is “an Islamic society where Christianity exists in secret.” It is “illegal for an Afghan person to leave Islam,” and family members are often first to attack or kill converts.

In Somalia (#3), “[c]onversion to Christianity is regarded as a betrayal”; “family members and clan leaders will harass, intimidate and even kill” converts. The Islamic group Al Shabaab slaughters Christians “on the spot when discovered.”

In Libya (#4), “there is no freedom of speech, no equal treatment of Christians, no recognition of the church and no churches being built.”

Pakistan (#5) “is afflicted by numerous radical Islamic groups,” which “regularly target” churches. “Christians are regarded as second-class citizens. Also, the country’s anti-blasphemy laws are disproportionately applied against the Christian minority, making it difficult and dangerous to live one’s faith in public.”

In Sudan (#7), “the government has arrested or intimidated many Christian leaders, and numerous churches have been demolished. Extremists have attacked Christians, especially in the Nuba Mountain region, where thousands of Christians have been killed or displaced.”

In Yemen (#8), civil “war has allowed radical Islamic groups to expand their operations in certain areas, leading to Christians being abducted and killed. Open church activities are forbidden and leaving Islam is forbidden. Muslims who decide to follow Jesus could face the death penalty.”

In Iran (#9), which “is governed by Islamic law, . . . the rights and professional possibilities for Christians are heavily restricted. . . . [I]t is illegal to produce Christian literature or hold church services in Farsi. Converts from Islam face persecution from the government.”

The Maldives (#14), popularly recognized as a beautiful island nation and tourist destination, is a bastion of Sharia: Its constitution requires all citizens to be Muslim. Conversion from Islam means that someone can be stripped of citizenship and punished. Even foreign workers who are Christians are closely watched. Churches are outlawed, and openly carrying the Bible is illegal. The country is so tightly controlled by Islamic law there is not even a Bible fully translated into the native language.

Targeting Christians around the world has become more widespread than ever. In India (#10)—where “Hindu radicals often attack Christians with little to no consequences”—“the government plans to introduce a national facial recognition system. There were at least 447 verified incidents of violence and hate crimes against Christians in India. . . . More tracking could increase these attacks.”

(Used by permission of Raymond Ibrahim,

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