Map reflects the 30 most recent Persecution Reports. Click HERE
for the Map Legend.
Thursday, March 6th, 2014
In the midst of the conflict that has plagued the Middle East in the last decade it has been the minorities who suffer the most and also do not benefit from any protections. The situation is even worse for Christians who because of their faith are not considered as “full citizens” even in their homeland. These realities have forced many to leave, not primarily because of economic hardships, though that exists, but because of the threat to their very lives.
Friday, February 28th, 2014
The situation in Iraq has led many Christians to make the hard decision to abandon their homeland. After more than a decade of conflict and a sense that the targeting of religious minorities shows no sign of slowing, the small number of Christians who have remained are again considering fleeing the country. January saw a spike in the number of civilian deaths, with more than 1,000 being the among the highest in the past six years.
Monday, February 24th, 2014
In message leading up the season of Lent, Patriarch Sako issued a call to pray that Iraqi Christians would not leave Iraq but “persevere” in spite of the incredible hardships and violence they are facing. Over the past decade more than a million Christians have left Iraq. “Our Christian identity has been part of Iraq’s history and geography for two thousand years,” he said, but that seems more in danger now than ever before.
Thursday, February 20th, 2014
The story of Christianity in Iraq over the past 11 years is troubling in many ways. In the midst of the violence the number of Christians has decreased by 1.2 million. Prior to 2003 there was estimated to be 1.5 million, now just 300,000 remain. Along with the physical absence of Christians, much of the culture and heritage of the church is in danger of being lost as well. There have been some steps taken both politically and by civil society to protect and promote Christianity in Iraq.
Wednesday, February 19th, 2014
Christians face a rising level of religious freedom around the world, and especially in the Middle East. Two recent studies from respected research organizations, Pew Forum and Open Doors, have highlighted the massive scale of the issue. Many are pushing for the United States to make the protection of religious minorities a core part of foreign policy, which the administration says that it already is. The problem has been in the failure to back the rhetoric with action. While there are political issues involved, it is imperative that the positions that exist to protect religious minorities be quickly filled if the United States is to have any credibility behind its claims to be a defender of religious freedom.
Friday, February 14th, 2014
Lawmakers listened to testimony from experts and religious leaders highlighting the persecution of Christians that is rampant across the Middle East. As a representative from the Vatican stated, Arab Christians “find themselves the target of constant harassment for no reason other than their religious faith.” The United States has an important role to play in leading the conversation to find solutions to religiously based discrimination and persecution.
Thursday, February 13th, 2014
The violence in Iraq has shown no signs of slowing. January was the deadliest month in some six years with more than 1,000 killed in violence across the country. Iraq remains divided along religious and ethnic lines. The influence of extremists groups has also made the situation of the Christian community even more precarious. There is a fear among many that Iraq’s Christians have been forgotten by the church and the international community.
Monday, January 27th, 2014
While 2013 marked a very difficult year for Christian communities around the world, 2014 may be even more dangerous. The Middle East saw unprecedented levels of persecution, especially in Syria, where Open Doors recorded 1,213 Christian martyrs in 2013. Western media and governments can do more to cover the subject and to pressure nations who allow religious persecution to step in and protect Christians from violence.
Thursday, January 23rd, 2014
The following article provides an excellent overview of the situation for Christians across the Middle East who, if current trends continue, are facing extinction. It also asks the pivotal question, why isn't the West outraged? For a decade the Middle East has been emptying of Christians by the hundreds of thousands as radical Islamic movements in the region become increasingly violent. Syria, Iraq, and Egypt are perhaps the best examples of this trend. ICC is actively working to raise awareness and bring assistance to many of these communities.
Friday, January 10th, 2014
In the latest report highlighting the status of Christian persecution around the world, 9 out of the top 10 countries are Muslim majority states, and Islamic extremism is the primary cause of their persecution of Christians. North Korea again holds the spot at #1 for the worst persecutor of Christians, but behind that it is Islamic extremism that is largely driving the problem. Another troubling aspect has been the relatively silence of the United States government on the issue, despite efforts within Congress to make it a higher priority for the State Department and the White House.
Wednesday, January 8th, 2014
A newly released study documents that more than 2,100 Christians were killed as “martyr’s” in 2013. The greatest increase was seen in Syria. With a reported 1,213 deaths, Syria alone eclipsed the global total of 1,201 from 2012. The report is intentionally narrow in its definition of “martyr” and tries to distinguish between Christians killed in the midst of broader conflict and those killed explicitly for their faith. Nine of the ten worst persecuting countries are Muslim-majority states. As a whole, the report finds that “Islamist extremism is the worst persecutor of the worldwide church.”
Tuesday, January 7th, 2014
The following interview with Thomas Farr, director of the Religious Freedom Project at Georgetown University, provides important insight into why Christians play such an important role in the Middle East and how the promotion of religious freedom and the protection of Christians specifically is in the best interests of all peoples in the Middle East, and even in the West as well.
Monday, January 6th, 2014
The Middle East has been the site of some of the worst persecution of Christians for the past few decades. There are multiple factors that drive the persecution of Christians. It is crucial that those outside the region remain involved in addressing those factors and working to promote the rule of law that provides protections for all people, regardless of religious belief.
Thursday, December 26th, 2013
Details are still emerging concerning the bomb blasts in a Christian area of Baghdad on Christmas Day. 37 people were killed in blasts outside the St. John Catholic Church and near a market in Athorien. The U.S. Embassy has called the targeting of Christians “deliberate and senseless” and comes at the end of what has been the deadliest year in Iraq since at least 2008.
Wednesday, December 25th, 2013
Slowly across the Western world we are seeing more and more political and thought leaders awake to the reality of Christian persecution, and the massive scale on which it is taking place across the Middle East. The horrific abuses have been largely ignored for a number of reasons from “political correctness,” fear of “doing God” in public, or taking sides in some sort of “clash of civilizations.” None of these, even if they were accurate, are justification for allowing massive crimes against humanity to take place with near total impunity and with little outcry from those countries who claim to be the defenders of human rights.
Wednesday, December 25th, 2013
International Christian Concern (ICC) is deeply troubled by the two bombings that targeted Christians in the Iraqi capital on Christmas day. Two separate blasts occurred in the Dora neighborhood of Baghdad. Altogether, at least 35 people were killed and some 56 others were wounded, the Interior Ministry said.
Tuesday, December 24th, 2013
Violence targeting Christians in Iraq has been increasing in recent days. The increase in violence is due both to the lack of capacity to provide security and to increasing extremism across the region. The latest increase comes as over the past decade some 800,000 Christians have emigrated from Iraq, fleeing the uptick in persecution and violence that marked the years since 2003.
Sunday, December 22nd, 2013
The importance of the highlighting the religious persecution in the Middle East is slowly creeping into the national consciousness. It is an issue that needs to be confronted now, as its seeds will bear disastrous fruits in years to come. As this article highlights, “The silence of Western governments about this phenomenon and its primary cause – the rise of Islamist extremism – is at best short sighted. The Christian exodus represents not only a humanitarian crisis, but a looming national security problem for the West.”
Sunday, December 22nd, 2013
Iraq has seen an increase in violence in 2013, during the Christmas season this presents a troubling concern for the Christians remaining in Iraq. As one pastor highlighted, “Churches are targets for terrorists, especially on Christmas Day. Many Christians stay home because they are too afraid." Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians have left the country, for those who have stayed their freedom to openly practice their faith has been restricted, largely due to the threats from Islamic extremists who want to minimize the visibility of Christianity in society.
Saturday, December 21st, 2013
The Archbishop of Baghdad urges the West to release what has been happening in Iraq over the past decade in regards to the country’s Christian community. The general insecurity and violence has impacted the Christian community most of all. Some 850,000 Iraqi Christians have left the country, according to a recent statement by the U.N. The long-term impact of such a large-scale demographic shift will be staggering. Perhaps the most worrying figure is that similar scenarios are currently in play in Iraq’s neighboring country of Syria and in Egypt. This factor must be added into the calculus of the world’s decision makers.
Thursday, December 19th, 2013
In a summary of persecution from the month of October, there is a disturbing trend of the abuses specifically targeting women and children. While not all of the events cited here are clearly persecution of Christians for specific acts of faith, they do show a level of hostility of those who are identified as Christians. Many of the attacks have been at the hands of extremist militant groups who are hostile towards all. The more troubling instances, such as in Egypt, are the blatant disregard for the safety of citizens shown by security forces.
Thursday, December 19th, 2013
The Eastern churches of Iraq have spoken out about the disturbing trend of Christians leaving the Middle East. “Their presence, competence and liberality are vital to the society and the Muslim majority appreciates that,” one leader said. The pace in Iraq continues at an alarming rate, as 6 families leave Iraq daily according to one calculation. The danger they leave behind is very real, but the loss for the future of the region is even more troubling.
Wednesday, December 18th, 2013
There is a campaign of persecution deliberately targeting Christians in the Middle East, Prince Charles said recently. Following meetings with the leaders of churches based in Syria and Egypt and hearing firsthand the accounts of what Christians are facing there, he concluded that there is organized persecution of Christians by Islamist militants throughout the region.
Tuesday, December 17th, 2013
The intentional targeting of Christians in Syria and Iraq has taken a tragic turn as radical Islamist organizations are seeking to drive them out to advance the cause of establishing an Islamic state. In Syria, where there remains an active conflict, there have been five Christian schools attacked in just the past few days a Syrian parliamentarian said. They see attacking children as one of the best ways to force their parents to leave the country. This is creating a repeat of what Iraq has witnessed over the past decade, with a mass exodus of Christians fleeing the country.
Monday, December 16th, 2013
Ten years removed from the fall of Saddam Hussein, Iraq’s Christian community is struggling to survive in a country still marked with violence. Throughout the decade the Christian community has been among the most vulnerable groups, suffering from robbery, rape, kidnapping, and murders. The result has been that the country’s million plus Christians now only number some 200,000.
Friday, December 6th, 2013
Slowly there is a rising awareness throughout Europe and elsewhere of the brutal treatment of Christians throughout much of the Middle East. Cases such as the murder of Jessi Boulus, a 10-year-old girl in Cairo, highlight the tragedy they face. Alan Howe, executive editor of the Herald Sun, describes Jessi’s “an almost forgotten footnote in what can only be described as a war that strands Middle Eastern Christians somewhere between the Exodus and a Holocaust.” This is a wake-up call for those in the Western who have somehow missed the reality of what is unfolding across the region.
Tuesday, November 26th, 2013
A recent report highlights that in the midst of rising persecution more and more people want access to the scriptures. The distribution of Bibles has continued to increase around the world. In places like Syria, Iraq, and throughout North Africa access to the Bible is crucial to sustaining the church in the midst of the harsh realities of persecution they are suffering.
Thursday, November 21st, 2013
Following a meeting with the leaders of churches across the Middle East Pope Francis spoke out calling for the church to support the continued existence of the church in areas that have increasingly become hostile to Christians. “We will not resign ourselves to imagining a Middle East without Christians,” Pope Francis said. This further highlights the work that is necessary to support the church and to address the political and cultural dynamics that are driving their exodus and in some cases martyrdom.
Thursday, November 21st, 2013
Over the past decade more than a million Iraqi Christians have left the country. 2013 has seen a rise in violence as the nationwide death toll is approaching 6,000, the highest since 2008. The lack of security has once again triggered the departure of Christians who have lost any semblance of safety. Just one Baghdad neighborhood, in 2003 home to 150,000 Christians has now dwindled to just 2,000.
Wednesday, November 20th, 2013
The violence and instability in Iraq has led to a largescale emigration of Christians from the country over the past decade. The number of Christians who have left is likely over 1 million. In a recent address to a UN audience Patriarch Sako emphasized the massive loss to the culture that is taking place by the departure of Christians. He called on religious communities to be proactive in seeking to keep religious diversity in Iraq, which is only possible if the culture of violence and persecution is minimized.