Map reflects the 30 most recent Persecution Reports. Click HERE
for the Map Legend.
Monday, April 14th, 2014
Was the killing of a Dutch priest in Homs, Syria just an isolated incident? The reality is that his death, while just one of nearly 150,000 in the past three years in Syria, is also just one of many such incidents that are driven because of ones identification as a Christian. From a Coptic girl in Egypt, to a Dutch priest in Syria, and many, many more, there is ample evidence, John L. Allen writes, to support the idea of a war on Christianity.
Sunday, April 13th, 2014
Addressing the United Nations, Lebanese Cardinal Rai spoke about the realities confronting Christians in the Middle East. Rather than Christians being treated as a persecuted minority, a group that is somehow alien to the area, he pressed that Christians must be seen as a part of the Middle East fabric. They have suffered alongside of many others in the current hostilities, though often they have been targeted simply because of their religious identity. Yet, the Christian community still has a crucial role to play in the region.
Saturday, April 12th, 2014
Speaking at an Easter event, British Prime Minister David Cameron raised the issue of Christian persecution. “It is the case that Christians are now the most persecuted religion around the world. “We should stand up against persecution of Christians and other faith groups wherever and whenever we can,” he told the audience including representatives of the Coptic Orthodox Church.
Thursday, April 10th, 2014
In a speech the day following the murder of a Dutch Priest who had served in Syria for decades, Lord Alton of Liverpool highlights the dangerous ideology that is driving targeted persecution of Christians across the Middle East. Syria has become the focal point of this crisis, one that could be framed in the language of a ‘Final Solution’, recalling the targeted killings of Jews by Nazi’s in the middle of the 20th century.
Monday, April 7th, 2014
Are Christians Persecuted in the Middle East? It’s almost an unbelievable question for anyone who looks at the reports emerging from the region. This should not be understood to say that Christians are the only ones suffering. There are numerous causes of suffering and destruction that has affected so many across the region, and that has led to the repression of basic human rights. The Christian community has a role to speak up for their own rights – but also the rights of all in the society.
Sunday, April 6th, 2014
A recent study has show that there are more incidents of religiously motivated violence in countries that lack religious diversity. Both Somalia and Afghanistan are among the least religiously diverse countries in the world and top the list for countries with the most religiously motivated incidents of violence. Across the Muslim world, Christians living in Muslim majority countries face daily persecution. Take a moment to pray for them today.
Saturday, April 5th, 2014
Over the last decade, hundreds of thousands of Christians have left the violence in Baghdad. Many of them left without selling their homes, hoping to one day return. Now, many of them have seen those homes taken by gangs. The courts have shown little assistance in getting the properties recovered and Christians fear that if they press the claims they will simply be putting a target on their back for kidnappings or other forms of violence.
Wednesday, March 26th, 2014
America needs to do more to address the persecution of Christians, was the takeaway from a panel on the issue. The Center for American Progress organized the event that brought together a panel of researchers to address the issue, that in the words of Paul Marshall “is getting much worse.” The reality is that a wide-range of actors, including government and non-government organizations need to be active to support churches and address the issues that foster religious persecution.
Friday, March 21st, 2014
As religious and political leaders look at the trends from recent days, it is hard not fear that violence against Christians may continue to drive large numbers of them to seek refuge outside of their homelands. The level of violence has many looking back some 1300 or 1400 years to find a historical equivalent. Yet, far too often, when world leaders do speak on the issue, they fail to ever accompany those words with actions.
Thursday, March 20th, 2014
Why does it really matter if Christians stay in the Middle East? Why don’t they just leave? These questions cut to the heart of what is happening politically across the region. The vast majority of those living in the Middle East want to establish a system of governance that is inclusive off all peoples, regardless of their faith or other markers. If religious extremists are able to drive Christians out and establish an Islamic state, it will not be long before that same ideology will be applied on all those who fail to hold the extremist’s interpretations.
Monday, March 17th, 2014
Rising religious extremism is driving out a “religious pluralism” that has allowed for Christians, Muslims, Jews, and a variety of other faiths to live together. At a recent conference highlight the issue, a former minister from Lebanon highlighted how this trend is threatening to tear apart the region. He called on international groups, such as the United States, to back up their words with actions that will help to preserve the minority communities of the Middle East.
Friday, March 14th, 2014
Somewhere near a million Christians have left Iraq over the past decade. For those who have stayed behind they continue to risk danger from fighting that in some cases shows no discrimination, and at other times extremists who target Christians to make a point. For those who have stayed behind, it is largely a love of country that has kept them there, despite the dangers.
Tuesday, March 11th, 2014
Through more than a decade of violence, a majority of Iraqi Christians have fled their homeland. While many of them have gone to Europe or the United States, an estimated 26,000 families migrated to northern Iraq, the region governed by Kurdish groups. The hostility in this area has been significantly less than in other parts of the country, but mere tolerance is a far cry from what many leaders hope will emerge in Iraq, a place where Christians are able to freely practice their faith, as full citizens without fear.
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.