The British branch of the 64-year-old, Vatican-approved organization Aid to the Church in Need today released a report finding that a full 75 percent of religious persecution is currently being carried out against Christians. It further claims that, in two-thirds of the countries, this persecution has worsened. “For millions of Christians around the world,” the report states, “persecution, violence discrimination and suffering are a way of life as they live out their faith.”
In addition to the usual persecutors — such as North Korea, China, Saudi Arabia, and Iran — it includes countries such as Venezuela and Zimbabwe, among others often overlooked. It cites in particular the “severe threat to the Christian presence in parts of the Middle East, especially Iraq and the Holy Land.” With respect to the Holy Land, it falls into the usual trap of prominently citing Israel’s security barrier around the West Bank, without noting that it was erected as a response to horrific Palestinian terrorism against Israelis and that, in this, it has been effective. However, it also points out that Christians there have been subject to pressure from “Islamist groups whose appeal is growing among the population” and that Muslims have attacked Christian homes, shops and churches “almost on a daily basis.”
Overall, the report is an important contribution to the field of human rights. A world map with brief country profiles and examples of anti-Christian persecution from the report can be found on the group’s website.
— Nina Shea is director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom.