Seventy five percent of religious persecution in the world is against Christians, claims a new report by a U.K. Catholic organization.
Examining 33 countries, the British branch of Aid to the Church in Need reported that most of the persecution was occurring in the Middle East, Africa and Asia in its 2011 ”Persecuted and Forgotten? A Report on Christians oppressed for their faith.”
Besides the usual suspects – China, Iran, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia – the report also reveals that countries such as Venezuela, Zimbabwe and even the Holy Land are guilty of religious persecution. The report also finds that Christians face increased persecution in 22 countries among those examined, with Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, and Pakistan being among the worst countries for believers to live in. The report also says that now 100 million Christians worldwide are facing persecution.
Egypt’s Army fired Sunday on thousands of Christian protesters demonstrating against a recent church burning, leaving at least 24 people dead. Some say the Army is provoking sectarian violence as a pretext for staying in power.
The violence first began when civilians attacked thousands of Christians who were marching to the state television building to protest what they say was the state’s weak response to the recent burning of a church in southern Egypt. But the march continued, and witnesses said that as soon as it entered the area in front of the building, Army armored personnel carriers drove deliberately into the crowd, crushing and killing people, and troops opened fire.
The White House condemned the conviction and possible death sentence for an Iranian pastor who refuses to renounce his Christian faith on Thursday, saying the execution would further demonstrate Iranian authorities ”utter disregard” for religious freedom.
Youcef Nadarkhani, 32, who maintains he has never been a Muslim as an adult, has Islamic ancestry and therefore must recant his faith in Jesus Christ, the 11th branch of Iran’s Gilan Provincial Court has ruled. Iran’s Supreme Court had ordered the trial court to determine whether Nadarkhani had been a Muslim prior to converting to Christianity.