A very fine article from the normally ultra-liberal Toronto Star. (H/T Jojo)
Virtually every human rights group and Western government agency that monitors the plight of Christians worldwide arrives at more or less the same conclusion: Between 200 million and 230 million of them face daily threats of murder, beating, imprisonment and torture, and a further 350 to 400 million encounter discrimination in areas such as jobs and housing. A conservative estimate of the number of Christians killed for their faith each year is somewhere around 150,000.
Christians are “the largest single group in the world which is being denied human rights on the basis of their faith,” the World Evangelical Alliance has noted.
In a report to a conference on Christian persecution hosted by the European Parliament last month, the U.S. Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life put it this way: while Muslims and Jews worldwide and Baha’is in Iran certainly suffer too, Christians were “harassed” by government factors in 102 countries and by social factors, such as mob rule, in 101 countries.
“Altogether, Christians faced some form of harassment in two-thirds of all countries,” or 133 nations, the report said. Muslims also face “substantial” harassment, the Pew report found, but in fewer countries.
Christians face harassment in more countries “than any other religious group,” a Pew Forum spokesperson told the Star.
Put in sharper focus, “at least” 75 per cent of all religious persecution in the world is directed against Christians, the conference was told.
The euphemistic term “harassment” encompasses vigilante and terrorist attacks against Christians in more than a dozen Muslim countries. In Sudan, an estimated 1.5 million Christians have been murdered by the Islamic Janjaweed militia, including some who were crucified. In Nigeria, 12 states have introduced sharia law. Thousands of Christians were killed in the ensuing violence.
In Saudi Arabia, the only faith permitted by law is Islam. Christians are regularly imprisoned and tortured on trumped-up charges of drinking alcohol, blaspheming or owning religious artifacts.
In Egypt, Coptic Christians are still reeling from a church attack last January in which eight worshippers were killed. “The situation is deteriorating and is very tense,” Sam Fanous, a leader of Toronto’s Coptic community, told the Star from Cairo. He said that after Friday Muslim prayers, streets fill with anti-Coptic protests.
In historically tolerant Indonesia, Islamic militias have bombed churches in majority Christian regions and killed or forcibly converted thousands.
China, meantime, continues to shutter “underground” churches and ship pastors to prison.
Read the whole thing. This is one-stop shopping on the persecution issue, and the sources are unimpeachable. Send it to your friends.