According to Open Doors 260 Million Christians were persecuted for their faith last year. From the lands of Islam to North Korea violence and abuse of Christians. And in China they tear down Cross to make way for Video Surveillance Cameras.
by Irene Cosul Cuffaro
Authorized English translation by FromRome.Info
January 15, 2020 Edition, p. 10: The persecutions are unending for Christians throughout the world, indeed, they are on the increase. The cries of alarm are being heard at Open Doors, a Christian Missionary Association which monitors the violence, the harassment and the discrimination suffered by the faithful, and which publishes each year the World Watch List, which classifies the top 50 countries where the oppression of Christians is the highest. The data reported from Nov. 1, 2018 to Oct. 31, 2019, speaks for itself: 260 million persecuted Christians in just the top 50 countries, up from 245 million in the previous year. In practice, 1 out of every 8 Christians is enduring “high” levels of persecution on account of their faith.
At the top of the list of shame is the dictatorship of North Korea, where between 50,000 and 70,000 Catholics are currently being detained in concentration camps.
Even though the murders of Christians have diminished last year, from 4, 305 to 2,983 – on average 8 Christians a day – there has been a noticeable increase of “pressure” placed upon Christians, in the form of harassment, assaults, kidnappings, imprisonment without due process, churches closed or attacked, rapes and sexual abuse.
At the top of the World Watch list, since 2002, one finds North Korea where according to estimates there are between 50 and 70 thousand Christians being detained in concentration camps. The second or third place in list list of infamy go to Afghanistan and Somalia, followed by Libya, though in a different context from that of Pyongyang. The persecution in these three countries is in fact tied to their political instability and the absence of a central government. There, the faithful, especially when they convert from Islam, risk death if discovered.
In fifth place, is Pakistan, where 95% of the population is Muslim and discrimination against Christians begins in elementary school. This nation is infamous, among other things, for the case of Asia Bibi, the Christian mother of 5 daughters, who was accused in 2009 of blasphemy against Mohammad and condemned to death, from which she was spared thanks to clamorous international appeals, and who has now taken refuge in Canada after being threatened with death by the Islamic extremists of Tehreek-e-Labbaik who called for her execution, following her victory on appeal in 2008. Today, in her former homeland, there are more than 20 Christians detained on accusations of blasphemy.
We can omit to mention Sri Lanka, which is on the list for a singular incident, which raised its classification from 40th place to 30th: the mass terrorist attack on Easter Day, April 21, 2019, when 7 Jihadis from National Thowheeth jama-ath struck in a series of attacks 4 luxury hotels and a residential complex, killing 253 persons and injuring 500.
As much as regards Nigeria, the most recent slaughter of Christians occurred last month, when a group of Jihadis, affiliated with Isis, slaughtered 11 men in revenge for the death of the “caliph” of the so-called “Islamic State”, Abu Bakr-al-Baghdadi, killed last October in Syria. The report from Open Doors shows, however, that the most lethal group in the country are the Muslim Fulani herdsmen: April 14th last, in the village of Numa, one of them made a disturbance during a celebration of Baptism by massacring all 17 participants. The group is defined in the report of Open Doors as six times more lethal than the throat-cutting Boko Haram.
The report affirms, in addition, on sexual violence. The data on sexual abuse and rape reveal, in the period in question, 8,537 cases, to which should be added at least 630 forced marriages. Moreover, the numbers are likely to be decidedly higher, seeing that persecution of this kind is usually perpetrated at home, rendering it difficult to quantify, as the Director of Open Doors, Cristian Nani explains: “Christian women raped and violated while parents or husbands are constrained to listen to their cries on a telephone. The brutality of the phenomenon of sexual abuse and of forced marriages is disheartening. And it is only the tip of the iceberg which is revealing itself little by little. If it can exist hidden away in a country like Italy, just imagine what it is like in countries where Christians are considered second class citizens.”
But the repression of Christians also occurs in regard to their places of worship. To get an idea, consider the statistic of surging church closures, attacks and of the destruction of church and church-related properties like schools and hospitals: 9,488 ( as compared to 1,847 in the preceding year), of which more than 5,500 were in China alone, where the number of faithful Christians is growing rapidly, as is already near to 90 million.
Peking has put into place a system to monitor believers in an ever more restrictive manner, by the use of biometric technologies and artificial intelligence: on top of forbidding anyone less than 18 years of age to frequent places of Christian worship, the Chinese authorities have imposed upon some churches the requirement of removing the Crosses in front of the buildings and of installing systems of facial recognition, to which all the faithful must subject themselves.
CREDITS: Photos by FromRome.Info of the original paper copy of the Article, made with the gracious permission of La Verità.