Map reflects the 30 most recent Persecution Reports. Click HERE
for the Map Legend.
Friday, March 7th, 2014
As the conflict in Syria moves closer to its third year, attention is again being raised to the plight of the country’s Christian community which has been left vulnerable in the midst of the conflict. Throughout the Middle East Christians have typically presented a moderating force, committed to non-violence, valuing diversity, and promoting peace-building and education. With the specific targeting of Christians and churches this appears to be lost as many have fled their homes and for some the region.
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.
Wednesday, March 5th, 2014
For some Syrian Christians who have remained in Syria despite the war and the threats that they have come under from radical Jihadist groups, they are now being subjected to a system of governance based on rules from the seventh-century. The agreement published on a jihadist website details the restrictions placed on the Christian community to continue living in the sharia governed city.
Tuesday, March 4th, 2014
In response to the latest series of events in Syria, the U.S. State Department issued a press statement condemning the targeting of Christians in Syria by extremists groups. It also highlights the danger that Christians are facing from both the opposition groups and the regime of Assad, leaving Christians and other minorities in an extremely vulnerable position.
Monday, March 3rd, 2014
The cities controlled by extremists groups in Syria demonstrate the predicament that Christians in the country face. In the city of Raqqa, a jihadist group has taken control and has reportedly implemented a protection tax on the remaining Christian residents. Christians, who previously were as many as 10% of the city’s population, were given the option to convert to Islam, accept the tax, or face the sword, reports have claimed.
Saturday, March 1st, 2014
For Syrian Christians forced to flee the conflict in Syria, Turkey has become a safe haven for many. The intriguing thing is that for many the flight from Syria to Turkey has been a retracing of the steps their ancestors took nearly 100 years ago. Eastern Turkey was once the homeland of hundreds of thousands of Syriac and Armenian Christians. Many of these groups were forced south into modern day Syria. As they have returned back some of them are now living in the same villages that they grew up hearing spoken about by their grandparents.
Friday, February 28th, 2014
A Jihadist group’s claims to have struck a “protection pact” with Christians in the Syrian city of Raqqa continue to stoke both controversy and fears regarding the situation for Christians in Syria. An announcement concerning the agreement said the Christians were given the option to convert to Islam, accept the terms, or face the sword.
Thursday, February 27th, 2014
In one of the most troubling news reports coming out of Syria, the Jihadist group – ISIS – controlling the city of Raqqa has officially implemented a protection tax – “dhimma” – on Christians living in the city. According to a statement posted online they met with 20 Christian leaders and gave them the choice of conversion, tribute, or the sword. If they rejected, the only thing remaining between ISIS and Christians was the sword, they said.
Wednesday, February 26th, 2014
“Danger in Yabrud does not threaten only the nuns, but also all Christians,” a spokesman told Lebanese media. The on-going crisis in Syria attempting to remove president Bashar al-Assad from power has been the cover under which many extremist groups have taken aim at removing Christians from Syria and setting up an extremist version of Sharia law. The revolution that began initially as an expansion of rights has seen terrible acts committed in many of the areas that have come under the control of these militant groups.
Friday, February 21st, 2014
A firsthand account from inside the Syrian capital of Damascus highlights the intense pressure Christians are living under in the midst of the conflict. Besides the very real threats coming from the on-going war, the physical trauma that so many have experienced are putting intense burden on the church. There are young people sharing their testimony of having a brother beheaded simply because of his faith. This reality must urge the church to be fervent in their prayers for Syria.
Thursday, February 20th, 2014
Christians have found themselves in an incredibly vulnerable situation in Syria. The conflict has attracted a host of Islamic Jihadist groups who pose an existential threat to Christianity. It has also prompted a harsh crackdown by the regime of Bashar al-Assad that has left many hesitant to support him, only viewing the alternatives as potentially worse. This has led many to flee the country. Other Christians have decided to stay and attempt to protect their land as much as possible, leading to interesting coalitions. Despite the very real dangers, Christians are determined to see the church continue on in the land that was the birthplace of Christianity.
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.
Saturday, February 15th, 2014
Persecution of Christians around the world has increased as their quality of life "has deteriorated." Among these countries are those that, "The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom also presented its annual report, in which 15 nations (Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Uzbekistan, Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Vietnam) are designated as 'countries of particular concern'."
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.
Wednesday, February 12th, 2014
Reports continue to stream out of Syria indicating that the situation for the country’s Christians appears to be getting worse. Residents from a well-known Christian city report that the jihadist rebels are moving into positions surrounding the town and seem poised to move on the city of Saidnaya in the coming days. The city which is home to 5 monasteries and dozens of churches has been struggling to continue “life as usual” but the prospect of an invasion by jihadist groups makes those hopes seem dim.
Monday, February 10th, 2014
Syrian Church leaders came to Washington D.C. to ask for help stating that "1,200 Christians were martyred in Syria in 2013 alone," and that Christians are targeted by militants.
Monday, February 10th, 2014
A video has recently been released featuring nuns kidnapped by Islamists. The nuns appear to be in good health, and their captors demand the release of Syrian Detainees for the nuns safe return.
Tuesday, February 4th, 2014
As Islamic militants continue to eradicate Syria's Christians, forcing them to flee their homes, the Kurdish population has risen up to help protect them.
Wednesday, January 29th, 2014
Christians have increasingly been targeted by radical Islamic groups across Syria as the civil war leaves hundreds of thousands more displaced. In a recent visit to the United States, Syrian church leaders spoke on the subject of Christians facing attacks and emphasized that without a peace agreement, Christians will continue to be displaced and face violence. ICC is actively working to assist Syrian Christian refugees who have fled or been displaced by the conflict.
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.
Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014
The World Evangelical Alliance has publicly called for world leaders to consider the Christian minority of Syria as peace talks begin this week in Geneva, Switzerland. Christians in Syria have been targeted in growing numbers by radical Islamic groups in the country fighting to overthrow the Assad government. Reports of Christians being killed for their faith have emerged while tens of thousands have been displaced. ICC is not only monitoring the deteriorating situation for Christians in Syria but is actively working to assist victims of the civil war.
Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014
As the conflict in Syria continues on, people are slowly waking up to the horrors confronting Syrian Christians. Syria is the birthplace of the Christian church. Far from being a “foreign import,” the spread of Christianity around the world has its roots in Syria, and has been active ever since. The rising influence of violent Islamic extremists is now driving Christians out of their homes, by the hundreds of thousands.
Friday, January 17th, 2014
There are serious questions still being asked about the fate of Syrian religious leaders who have been kidnapped across the country over the past year. For many of them the details about their present situation remain unclear. Two prominent bishops taken last April remain missing. A group of nuns was “forcibly evacuated” and held just a month ago. These are just a few of the incidents occurring within Syria that raise serious concern about the objectives of those fighting against Bashar al-Assad and what kind of Syria they are hoping to create. Based on the actions so far it appears to be one increasingly hostile towards Christians.
Thursday, January 16th, 2014
Yet another disturbing report has come from Syria. Two Christian young men driving from the city of Homs to a Christian village were attacked by a group of jihadists who opened fire on the car, forcing it to stop. After seeing a cross worn by one of the two men inside they pulled him out and beheaded him. The other, believed to be dead was left after the Jihadists looted the car. The second man was able to reach a nearby town and receive treatment. This is just the latest incident illustrating the horrific shadow war on Christians taking place inside the large-scale conflict across Syria that has attracted thousands of foreign fighters from around the world.
Monday, January 13th, 2014
“The exodus from the city is in full swing,” said one of the priests who remains in the northern Syrian city of Qamishli. Qamishli itself has seen relatively limited amounts of fighting, but the violence is just outside the city and many are leaving. Most of those who are going are young people and families with children. This raises serious questions about the future of the church if the young people never return.
Sunday, January 12th, 2014
The violence that has torn apart the country of Syria for nearly three years has taken more than 100,000 lives. As the stream of foreign Jihadist fighters continues to rise the dangers for Syrian Christians also is rising. Caught in between the two sides and with the increasing numbers of militants subscribing to a militant Islamic ideology, the situation looks even more dire for Christians.
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.
Thursday, January 9th, 2014
Another report has emerged from Syria documenting the brutal killing of two Armenian Christians who have been captured and held by the al Qaeda-linked extremist Islamic State of Iraq and Levant. The influx of foreign Jihadist fighters has escalated the conflict and has made the situation even more dangerous for the Syrian Christian community. This is just the latest report from a conflict that has taken more than 110,000 lives.
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.”