Map reflects the 30 most recent Persecution Reports. Click HERE
for the Map Legend.
Wednesday, December 4th, 2013
The ancient Christian village of Maaloula has again become the site of fierce fighting in Syria. A coalition of rebel groups, including the extremist al-Nusra Front, which has ties to al-Qaeda, attacked forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. After intense fighting over the weekend, they have taken control of the village. Twelve nuns and three other women from the Greek Orthodox monastery of Mar Takla were taken by rebel forces from Maaloula towards the border town of Yabroud, an International Christian Concern (ICC) contact in the region reported on Tuesday. The monastery, which had previously housed 40 nuns and orphans, and at least one other church, were severely damaged in the fighting. After the rebels drove out the forces of the Assad regime, they attacked a number of Christian buildings and three young Catholic men were also killed by the rebel fighters, Asia News reported.
Monday, December 2nd, 2013
Fighting in Syria has again returned to the Christian village of Maaloula. The city is known for its historical churches and as one of the last remaining places where Christians still speak Aramaic. Following the last series of clashes in Maaloula many of the village’s residents left the village. There have been reports of the direct targeting and destruction of churches. In some areas held by rebel groups they have implemented an extremist version of Islamic Sharia law which has directly targeted Christians.
Saturday, November 30th, 2013
The influx of Islamic militants who have flooded Syria with the stated goal of establishing an Islamic state has driven many of the country’s Christians to flee the country. In the midst of the ongoing civil war there have been multiple incidents of Christians being targeted across Syria as a result of their faith and unwillingness to conform to the extremist agenda of these fighters.
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.
Saturday, November 23rd, 2013
If religious extremists seize power in Syria the results could be devastating for Christians, said a Catholic nun who serves at a monastery in the Qalamoun area of Syria. Like many Christians in the country, her fears about the future of Syria come not from support of President Bashar al-Assad, but out of fear for what would happen if the various Islamic extremists groups who are fighting in Syria were to come to power. The initial results in places like Sadad and Maloula have been tragic for the country’s Christian community.
Friday, November 22nd, 2013
There have been an estimated 450,000 Christians who have left Syria since the beginning of the civil war. The land they have left behind has become increasingly hostile for Christians. “I believe it is all systematic and planned,” one priest from Damascus said about forcing Christians to leave. Despite the hardship a number of church leaders are encouraging Christians to stay in the country and endure the difficulties.
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
An in-depth study by Human Rights Watch highlights the abuse and brutal actions taken against civilians in the largely Christian village of Sadad in late October. There were more than 40 civilians confirmed dead in the village. There are also documented destruction of churches and other property. The city was the site of clashes between government forces and rebel forces, but the abuses documented in this report, that amount to war crimes were carried out by the various rebel factions and Islamist terrorist groups that make up a large portion of the rebel forces.
Tuesday, November 19th, 2013
As the dangers for Syria’s Christian community continue to rise many of them are fleeing the country. In Eastern Turkey there has been an influx of Syriac Christians who have left their homes behind due to fears of kidnapping, rape and executions. While the Christians have not been the sole targets of the horrors taking place inside of Syria, their identity as a non-Muslim religious group often sets them apart for particular targeting and persecution.
Tuesday, November 19th, 2013
In a recent interview Patriarch Laham highlights how the violence in Syria has progressively come to target Christians more frequently. The two plus year war in Syria has created destruction across the country, but as Patriarch Laham says that especially since August they have documented nearly daily large scale attacks falling on those neighborhoods housing churches and other Christian institutions, including schools. He wonders whether Western states have lost the ability to see and comprehend the heinousness of the war and the destruction it is causing.
Saturday, November 16th, 2013
Government leaders throughout the Western world are beginning to wake up to the fact that the intense persecution that has been allowed to persist throughout much of the Middle East is emptying the region of its Christian communities. It is the responsibility of politicians to “set the tone” for tolerance of religious minorities, Lady Warsi, a UK Minister said. Christians are the victims of persecution at the hands of both states and extremist organizations, and the results have been horrific.
Saturday, November 16th, 2013
According the Britain's Minister for Faith Christian communities across the world, particularly in the Middle East, are in danger of becoming extinct due to targeting by Islamic extremists. From Egypt to Syria to Pakistan, Christian communities across the Middle East and South Asia have come under attack as extremists gain influence. In Pakistan, a church of 600 attendants was attacked by two suicide bombers shortly following a Sunday service. Around 130 Christians were killed as a result of this attack. Scenes of destruction like this are being faced by Christian in many of Christianity's ancient homelands. Please pray for these persecuted brothers and sisters.
Thursday, November 14th, 2013
Across the broader Middle East, from Morocco to Pakistan, Christians have repeatedly come under attack in recent months. The tragedy of these attacks extends beyond just the individuals and families directly attacked, but extends to the societies involved and the region overall. The attacks are threatening to drive Christians from areas that have been the homeland of Christianity for two millennia. Some are now beginning to consider what is actually at stake if Christians are cleansed from the region. What would be lost if Christians were erased from the map in these countries?
Wednesday, November 13th, 2013
At least five children were killed by a mortar attack on a school in a largely Christian area of the Syrian capital of Damascus. While random mortar attacks have become commonplace the focused attack on the school has had a jarring effect on the Christian community. The situation for Christians remains dire in the country and the readily identifiable marks of Christianity have made the Christian community particularly vulnerable to continued assault.
Tuesday, November 12th, 2013
It is no secret that Christians in Syria are targets, and suffering greatly, in the war in Syria. Disturbing reports continue to flow from the region, including those of strangulation, and that of an entire Christian family murdered and thrown down a well.
Thursday, November 7th, 2013
Syria's Christians once lived in the town of Raqqa as an equal component of a muti-religious, multi-cutural community in Assad's Syria. With the recent capture of the town by American and Western-supported rebels, that has all changed. The Churches have been burned and its of the Christians have been killed or fled. The iron curtain of Sharia rule now divides the town from its former freedom.
Saturday, November 2nd, 2013
Christians in predominantly Muslim societies are often regarded as foreigners rather than fellow citizens. They have often been associated, often incorrectly, as proponents of American culture or policies, and are seen by Islamists as surrogates and targets. The decline of American influence since 2009 has fueled the perception that attacks and American targets and surrogates - minority Christian communities - will go unpunished. This perception is usually accurate, and further contributes to the escalation of violence against Christians, which may clearly be seen in the smoke and ashes of the Syrian War. However, in the midst of this despair, an image of Christ rises on a lonely hillside with the express purpose of giving hope to the beleaguered Christians in a tiny village. Only this statue is able to be placed not from the exercise of American influence but from a deliberate exercise of Russian power. The Russians are advancing a diplomatic and security agenda which prioritizes protecting Christians in the historical homes, doing the job the America and Western Europe seem to have abandoned.
Friday, November 1st, 2013
Islamists are using the Syrian civil war as an opportunity to commit religicide by killing or forcing the conversion of Christians and other faiths. Syria has been the home of Christianity since Christ's time, yet ar quickly disappearing from the region as the war rages. The latest discovery of mass graves underscores the urgency of their need. They plead for help from the international community.
Thursday, October 31st, 2013
The desecration of a church in Syria has been caught on tape and posted to the internet. In the video, Sheikh Omar Raghba smashes a statue of the Virgin Mary after rebels took control of Yakubiya village. In the video, the Sheikh claims that no other religion besides a strict Sunni sect of Islam called Wahhabism will be tolerated in Syria. This video further shows the difficult situation faced by Christians in Syria. On one hand there is Assad, who has shown a willingness to kill thousands of his own citizens to keep power, and on the other is the rebels, who Christians fear are becoming more and more radical as the war drags on.
Thursday, October 31st, 2013
According to news sources at AINA, militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) desecrated and set fire to an Armenian church near Syria's northern border with Turkey. According to sources on the ground, these rebels decided to burn the church to show the superiority of Islam over other religions. Attacks like this on Christians in Syria have been on the rise since the beginning of the civil war as foreign Islamic extremist enter Syria to join the fighting. Please pray for the persecuted of Syria.
Thursday, October 31st, 2013
As Syria's civil war continues, Christians continue to be caught between both government and rebel forces. How are they surviving day to day? One priest in Syria shares 5 days from his journal about what some Christians in Damascus are doing to help build peace and get captives released. Please pray for these Christians risking their lives as witnesses to the power of Jesus Christ and his message of peace and love.
Wednesday, October 30th, 2013
As Christian towns and neighborhoods in Syria are becoming caught up in Syria's civil war, many Christians feel that they are being targeted for violence by rebel groups fighting government forces. Recently, two major Christian areas, Sadad and Maaloula, have been taken by rebel forces and then re-taken by government forces. When rebel groups took these areas, churches were vandalized and many Christians fled, fearing rebels would assume they support the government forces and punish them. Syria's civil war has left the Christian community to with the unanswerable question of who should they support. The future of this community, which makes up 10% of Syria's population, remains unclear.
Tuesday, October 29th, 2013
As the Syrian civil war continues, the Syrian Christian community continues to find itself caught in the middle of the bloody struggle. In recent months, cities with large Christian populations have been caught up in the conflict and have forces some Christians to pick a side in the civil war. While many Christians initially supported the rebels, recent developments regarding the identity and ideology of the rebel groups in Syria have turned more and more Christians to support the government. Where will the Christian community be when the civil war is over? Will there even be a Christian community in Syria any more?
Monday, October 28th, 2013
Sadad, a Christian town briefly held by Syrian rebels, was retaken by government forces on Monday. The Christian population of Sadad has found themselves caught in the middle of Syria's civil war, many afraid of what the future holds for the persecuted religious minority group. In Damascus, Christians protested outside of a cathedral calling on the government to secure the release of their Christian relatives who they claim are being held by armed rebel groups.
Sunday, October 27th, 2013
Christian communities across the Middle East and South Asia continue to endure ever increasing levels of persecution and religious intolerance. This has lead to the decline of many Christian populations in these countries. In Syria, one of Christianity's oldest homes, the Christian population has declined by 25 %. As the world continues to sit in watch this injustice continue, please remember to pray for these communities.
Friday, October 25th, 2013
While the stream of Islamist extremists flooding into Syria seems to be swelling the number of fighters, Christians are increasingly fleeing the country. The greater influence of these radicalized groups are increasing the threats for Syria’s Christian community. Despite the centuries of relatively peaceful relationships between many Syrians, the country has now become one of the most dangerous places for a Christian to live.
Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013
The Syrian crisis is now two-and-a-half years old. and the damage of the conflict seems only to be worsening. Fueled by an increasing stream of jihadists with a stated goal of establishing an Islamic state, these groups have increasingly targeted the Christian community, forcing them to convert, flee, or be killed. The impact of extremist ideology is tearing apart the richly diverse social fabric of Syria, impacting all Syrians, but particularly targeting the Christians.
Friday, October 18th, 2013
In one of the few Syrian cities where the Christian and Muslim communities have stood up to the influence of extremist ideology, attempts are still being made to drive out the Christian community. Patriarch Gregorios, Syria’s most senior Christian leader, told of how earlier this week two bombs were discovered inside the confessional boxes in one of the world’s oldest churches, located in Yabroud, Syria. The threat of extremists is a danger for all Syrians, and Christians will be at the top of the list if they were to take full control.
Thursday, October 17th, 2013
Syria’s Christian community is struggling to survive in the midst of the civil war that has claimed more than 110,000 lives over the past two plus years. There were more than 1.5 million Christians living in Syria before the war, and the number of those displaced is around 500,000 or more by some estimates. Patriarch Gregorios spoke of the important role that the Christian community is able to play as it serves as a moderating force and a voice for justice in the midst of the terrible atrocities taking place in the country.
Wednesday, October 16th, 2013
An announcement from the Russian Foreign Ministry gives some indication of the level of crises for Syrian Christians. Some 50,000 are set to apply for Russian citizenship. The two plus year war in Syria has created a massive humanitarian crises. There are some 7 million displaced people. The country’s Christian community faces threats from both sides. It has been difficult to gauge where the more than 2 million Christians are in the conflict, but it appears many of them are moving towards Russia.