Over 400 million Christians in “lands of persecution”: activist
More than 400 million Christians live in countries that persecute churches – and this persecution is only getting worse, according to the head of an Italy-based Roman Catholic human rights organization.
Alessandro Monteduro, director of ACS-Italia, the Italian section of Aid to the Church in Need, told Vatican News in an interview published last week that there were approximately 416 million Christians living “in lands of persecution.”
“I want to make it clear that ‘living in a land of persecution’ does not mean ‘persecuted’, but living in a land of persecution, however, exposes you daily to risks that may arise due to the behavior of the persecutors,” he said. Monteduro, as rendered by Google translate.
“Sadly, all reports from charity agencies, but also those involving states most willing to do so, such as the United States and Britain, point to a tightening of their terms.”
Monteduro also told Vatican News that in “some parts of the world,” such as the African continent, “the suffering of Christian communities is worsening” due to religious intolerance.
“Across Africa, from sub-Saharan Africa to East Africa, there are at least twenty terrorist organizations which have the ambition, from their point of view, to install caliphates on their territories, ”he continued.
He also spoke of violent persecution in India over local fears that Christian groups are trying to convert Hindus to Christianity, adding that there was “too much indifference to these tragedies”.
Monteduro’s concerns about the growing intolerance of Christianity in Africa were echoed by the ecumenical Christian group Release International and its Persecution Trends 2022 report.
Release International cited several African countries, as well as the nations of India and North Korea, as areas of “growing concern” for local Christian communities.
In 2021 in Burkina Faso, for example, local Islamic terrorists carried out a plethora of attacks on churches, including bombings, school fires, assaults on places of worship and killings.
Release International also expressed concern over Afghanistan, which was recently taken over by the Taliban shortly after the United States withdrew its troops but left its military equipment.
“In 2022, there is a very real threat of higher levels of violent persecution in Afghanistan,” Release International CEO Paul Robinson said as part of the report.
“Our partners tell us that Christians who are unable to follow the outward forms of Islam, such as praying in the mosque and saying the shahada, the Islamic profession of faith, will stand out more clearly.”