From Asia to Africa: Regional Variations in Christian Persecution

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Christianity is one of the world’s leading religions, but many followers still face persecution around the globe. Practicing Christianity openly is even illegal in some countries, and many followers have had to practice their religion in secrecy to avoid criminal prosecution. Many Christians are subjected to harassment, violence and arrest regularly in certain parts of the world.

Arrests In North Korea

Even though freedom of religion is granted in North Korea’s constitution, the Hermit Kingdom still has a long history of cracking down on anyone who tries to practice Christianity openly. If a North Korean is found to be carrying a Bible, they may face imprisonment or even death. 

Missionaries who’ve traveled to North Korea are often arrested for allegedly promoting anti-government beliefs and activities. North Korea does allow a few churches to operate within its borders, but these institutions are often closed to visitors or are known for spreading pro-government propaganda.

Prohibition Of Conversions In India

In certain parts of India, Christians have been arrested for allegedly forcing people of other faiths to convert to Christianity. Many accused Christians proclaimed their innocence and stated that they were merely holding church services. 

Some parts of India have even passed laws that ban all types of religious conversions, which include willing conversions. Hinduism is the country’s predominant religion, and Hindu nationalists who believe Christian beliefs threaten their theology have been responsible for much of the persecution against Christians.

Riots In Pakistan

Devout Muslims have staged riots against Christians over the years because of claims that the Christians desecrated the Quran, considered the holiest book in Islam. Radical Islamists have also tried to justify their violence by claiming that the country’s Christians have disrespected their Prophet, Mohammed. Churches and homes have been vandalized and set ablaze during these riots. Rioters have also destroyed Bibles and physically assaulted Christians for allegedly blaspheming the Islamic faith.

Underground Church In Iran

Many persecuted Christian stories have come out of the Middle East, and some Iranian Christians who want to keep practicing have resorted to opening their own clandestine religious centers. Gatherings are often held in people’s homes instead of formal churches, and some secret online groups have also been started to allow Christians in Iran to connect with each other and share religious teachings. Iran’s underground church is also committed to training new leaders to help maintain the movement’s progress.

Executions In Libya

Libya is home to a minority group of Coptic Christians, and some of these Christians have been executed by members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) as well as other religious fanatics. Ruling parties within the country have been known to sentence Christians to death for proselytizing or refusing to convert to Islam. One of the most notable examples occurred in 2015 when ISIS executed 21 Coptic Christians for refusing to disavow Christ.

Attacks On Christian Villages In Nigeria

In West Africa, Christians comprise a large percentage of the population, but that hasn’t saved them from persecution. Christians who live in villages in northeastern Nigeria have faced increased violence, and thousands have been displaced because of looting and the destruction of Christian homes and businesses. In just a two-day span in May of 2023 alone, at least 300 Christians were killed in the region. Fulani militant ethnonationalists are said to be behind much of the violence.

Imprisonment Of Unauthorized Christians In Eritrea

The Eritrean government allows only followers of Orthodox, Catholic and Lutheran Christianity to operate within its borders, and members of other Christian denominations have been arrested and imprisoned for years in deplorable conditions. The country’s prisons often give prisoners little to eat and no medical care. Detainees are sometimes forced to serve out their sentences in desert camps, underground cells or even containers that are normally used for shipping. Some Christians also claim to have been tortured while imprisoned.

The persecution of Christians often doesn’t get as much attention from the media as it should, but ignoring the problem doesn’t diminish its importance. By raising awareness of the plight of Christians around the world, governments can do more work to try to end the unjust violence, arrests and other forms of persecution against Christians.

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