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ICC Note: Islamic extremism is the leading force in the persecution of Christians, according to a recent global survey. This occurs primarily in the Middle East and Africa. While all Christians are targeted by such radicalism, women suffer a great deal more than Christian men. In societies where Islamic extremism thrives, Christian women are a double minority–being second class citizens by faith and by gender. 

04/26/16 Middle East (Angelus) A recent global survey reveals that the rise of radical Islamic extremism is the primary reason for the persecution of Christians around the world – and many of the victims are women.

“Unfortunately, more and more women are the target of terrorist groups,” Emily Fuentes, communications director for Open Doors, told CNA April 20.

“There are numerous international incidents of women being kidnapped, raped, and forced to convert from Christianity to Islam by radical extremist groups like Boko Haram. Many are also sold on the open market. This brutality is not only occurring in the Middle East but in Africa and in many other places.”

The California-based Open Doors organization focuses on anti-Christian persecution in countries around the world. According to its 2016 World Watch List, the level of violence against Christians globally has reached an all-time high, with numbers almost doubling every year. The report also found that Islamic extremism is “the primary driving factor in 35 out of the top 50 states.”

“In many of these countries, women are subject to persecution because they are considered second-class citizens because of their gender,” Fuentes added. “As minorities in both gender and faith, Christian women face double the persecution. Although we don’t have an exact number, we know that millions of women are being persecuted.”

In the last two years, the Islamic State group has reportedly executed 250 girls in for refusing to become sex slaves. Two years ago, Boko Haram infamously stormed a school in Chibok, Nigeria, kidnapping 276 teen girls. The majority of those girls are still missing.

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