In 2016, Christian persecution not only increased but also spread further. In keeping with a recent report, incidents of Christian persecution were recorded in all the continents last year. Recently, Open Doors a Christian persecution watchdog group released a report indicating that Christian persecution has spread to more corners of the globe.
Open Doors USA in its recent edition of World Watch List, stated that an increase in incidents of Christian persecution was an alarming trend and was only getting worse. David Curry, President and CEO of Open Doors USA stated: “It is appalling that Open Doors has to report that persecution has increased again in 2016 and we are still at the worst levels of persecution in modern times. The spread of persecution has gotten worse, now hitting nearly every continent in the world. There were 23 Christians killed in Mexico specifically because of their faith.”
Robert Nicholson from Philos Project, an advocacy group for Christianity in the Middle East states: “These numbers underscore what we already know. There are many places on Earth where being a Christian is the most dangerous thing you can be. Those who think of Christianity as a religion of the powerful need to see that in many places it’s a religion of the powerless. And the powerless deserve to be protected.”
In its new report, Open Doors said that some 215 million Christians all over the world are going through some degree of religion based persecution. However, it was speculated that the number of persecuted Christians may be much higher than estimated. “Our report is conservative because it only calculates incidents that are reported and can be validated,” David Curry said.
“It is likely that there are thousands of incidents that are never reported and nobody knows because Christians are often fearful to tell anyone – even their own family members.” David Curry further said that there was an uptick in Christian persecution in various countries throughout Asia.This increase in persecution was backed by governments and religion based extremism. He said that Christians in these countries are facing nationalist religious outfits in countries as Pakistan, India and Myanmar.
“Governmental raids increased, church membership requirements were suddenly doubled overnight resulting in churches being regarded as now illegal, among other things. This is one area of the world that we are keeping a careful eye on because of the dramatic rise in persecution.”