Christian Communities at Risk: Unrelenting Attacks on the Rise
ROME – The latest report from Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), a Catholic charity, sheds light on the alarming surge in global Christian persecution. Released on Thursday, the report reveals a grim reality where Christians are mercilessly targeted solely because of their faith, resulting in countless testimonies of persecution.
According to ACN’s annual report, approximately 340 million Christians worldwide, equating to about 1 in 7 individuals, currently reside in countries where they endure some form of persecution. These acts range from arbitrary arrests and violence to various human rights abuses, and even loss of life.
Read More: Understanding and Documenting the Persecution of Christians
ACN defines Christian persecution broadly as the mistreatment, discrimination, oppression, or violence directed towards individuals or communities that identify as Christians or follow the Christian faith. This form of persecution infringes upon basic human rights, such as freedom of worship, expression, and assembly, due to an individual’s religious beliefs and practices.
In its pursuit to document and analyze global Christian persecution, ACN has identified several factors contributing to the intensification of these hostilities. While religious beliefs are the primary reason for targeting Christians, the report also acknowledges that economic and political factors play a role in exacerbating these issues.
Read Also: Uncovering the Causes and Regions of Christian Persecution
ACN’s findings indicate that ruling governments perceive Christians as threats, using their persecution as a means of control. Moreover, the report reveals that approximately 4.5 billion people live under authoritarian regimes that disregard religious freedom.
In certain regions, cultural and religious intolerance further fuels the persecution of Christians. For instance, 21 countries with a significant presence of Islamic extremism are home to 1.1 billion individuals. Additionally, Christianity faces animosity and violence in countries like India, where Hindu nationalism is on the rise, as it is seen as a foreign or Western religion.
Africa: A Breeding Ground for Christian Persecution
The ACN report identifies Africa as the most perilous continent for Christians, largely due to the escalation of jihadist activities. Christians across the continent are increasingly subjected to extremist violence.
Nigeria serves as a chilling example, with concerted efforts to eradicate Christianity. From January 2021 to June 2022, Islamist Fulani raiders have launched attacks on Christian villages in Nigeria’s Middle Belt, resulting in over 7,600 Christian deaths.
In Burkina Faso, jihadist violence has displaced over a million people, a considerable portion of whom are Christians.
The report highlights that in numerous African countries, “Christians face social alienation and persecution.” In the Central African Republic, for instance, some women are coerced into marrying Muslims, leading to separation from their children.
The Plea for Aid: The Church’s Cry for Persecuted Christians
This report serves as a poignant plea for aid and attention to the plight of persecuted Christians worldwide. As global Christian persecution shows no signs of waning, organizations like ACN play a vital role in bringing awareness to these issues.
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