ICC Note: A new report produced by the UK office of the Catholic charity "Aid to the Church in Need" examining the persecution of Christians in 30 countries concludes that persecution is growing worse. Perhaps one of the most alarming developments is the possibility of the Christian population in the Middle East being completely wiped out after already having been drastically reduced over the past decade. The rise of Islamic radicalism and the persistence of authoritarian regimes in North Korea and Eritrea are a few of the primary causes behind the increase in persecution.
10/17/2013 World (Christian Today) - The situation of Christians has sharply deteriorated in many countries according to a new report due to be launched later today.
The report Persecuted and Forgotten?, which is due to be launched at a meeting in the Houses of Parliament, claims that an exodus of Christians from many countries threatens Christianity's status as a worldwide religion.
Produced by the UK office of Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, the report examines the situation of Christians in 30 different countries, including Afghanistan, China, Laos, Pakistan, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.
Covering the past two-and-a-half years, it finds the worst problems are in a number of majority Islamic countries and authoritarian states such as North Korea and Eritrea.
John Pontifex, one of the report's authors, said: "The principal finding of the report is that in two-thirds of the countries where persecution of Christians is most severe, the problems have become arguably even worse.
"In fact the Church's very survival in some parts – notably the Middle East – is now at stake."
For Christians the so-called "Arab spring" has in many cases become what the report calls a "Christian winter".
Although the political upheavals have brought suffering to all faith communities, Christians have experienced the most hostility and violence.
They have become victims of every kind of political, economic, social and religious conflict – including conflicts between Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims – and as a result, many Christians have been forced to flee.
The report describes the exodus as reaching "almost biblical proportions".
John Pontifex said: "From all accounts, the incidents of persecution are now apparently relentless and worsening; churches being burnt, Christians under pressure to convert, mob violence against Christian homes, abduction and rape of Christian girls, anti-Christian propaganda in the media and from Government, discrimination in schools and the workplace… the list goes on.