Faith Persecution

Faith persecution

What is the most persecuted religion in the world?  Have you ever thought about this question? Most people are not aware that Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the entire world. It is illegal or severely restricted in 51 different countries.

Fundamentalist Muslim nations, fanatical Hindu countries and hardline Communist regimes are not shy about their hatred for Christianity.  Christians in the United States do not realize how easy they have had it. In many areas of the world following Christ means paying a very high price.  Too often that price is the life of a Christian believer.

For example, Iran’s parliament has passed a new law which makes it illegal for a Muslim to become a Christian, and that any Muslim that does become a Christian must be executed.

What would you do if you had to choose your faith in Christ or execution?

In many areas of India, Christians who try to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ are regularly attacked by Hindu extremists.

The following is a recent example of this persecution that was emailed to us by The Voice Of The Martyrs:

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On April 25, Pastor Mohan Babu and two other believers were severely beaten by 35 Hindu extremists for holding a Vacation Bible School (VBS) near Bangalore City, in Karnataka State. According to The Voice of the Martyrs contacts in India, the three-day VBS was organized by Ragigudda Baptist Church. VOM sources said, “Around 60 children from different backgrounds were attending the VBS. As they were worshiping, about 35 people belonging to a Hindu extremist group forcefully entered the hut chanting slogans and demolished the hut. The extremists mercilessly beat Mohan, Samuel and Krishna, alleging forceful conversion. The perpetrators chased the children without any courtesy and tore the Bibles. Mohan was severely injured on his lips and was profusely bleeding. The believers are living in fear and did not lodge complaint with the police.” Pray for healing for all those injured in this attack. Pray they forgive their attackers and for the children who were attending VBS to continue growing in their faith despite the attack.

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Unfortunately, the persecution of Christians in India has gotten worse as 4 more churches in eastern India have been burned to the ground and thousands of Christians have been driven from their homes.

But it is not just in a few areas where Christians are persecuted. It is truly a worldwide phenomenon…..

* It has been estimated that more Christians were martyred in the 20th Century than in the previous 1,900 years combined.

* There were more than 26 million documented cases of martyrdom in the 20th century alone.

* More than 200 million Christians in over 60 nations face persecution each day, and it is estimated that over half of these are children.

* It is estimated that between 150,000 and 165,000 Christians are martyred each year.

The following is a partial list of countries where Christians are currently being persecuted:

China
Religious Freedom Rating: 6 (7 is worst)
Widespread persecution of church leaders and members, especially those in unregistered (underground) churches, which may represent as many as 100 million believers.

Indonesia
Religious Freedom Rating: 5 (7 is worst)
Militant Muslims have waged periodic Jihad (‘Holy War’) against Christian communities in the Molucca Islands and Sulawesi. Over 600 churches have been destroyed since 1996.

Nigeria
Religious Freedom Rating: 5 (7 is worst)
The imposition of Islamic Sharia law in more than 10 states has caused thousands of Christians to flee, and has exacerbated differences between the predominantly Christian south and the Islamic north.

North Korea
Religious Freedom Rating: 7 (7 is worst)
Over 100,000 people, including many Christians, are believed to be imprisoned in North Korea’s barbaric death camps. The brutal dictatorship of Kim Jong Il suppresses all religious activities, and imposes a personality cult based around the ‘Great Leader’.

Pakistan
Religious Freedom Rating: 6 (7 is worst)
Pakistan’s poorly-drafted 295c blasphemy laws, which carry the death penalty for ‘blaspheming Mohammed’, have been misused against Christians and other minorities. Militant Muslims are increasingly attacking churches and Christian organizations.

Sudan
Religious Freedom Rating: 7 (7 is worst)
Famine and the long-running civil war between the Muslim North and Christian/animist South have led to over two million deaths in the last two decades. Thousands of Southern Sudanese have been literally enslaved after being seized in government raids.

Cuba
Religious Freedom Rating: 6 (7 is worst)
The church was initially persecuted by the Communist regime of Fidel Castro, when church leaders were sent to labour camps. Christians now enjoy greater freedom, although house churches are still subject to repression.

Colombia
Religious Freedom Rating: 4 (7 is worst)
Pastors have been targeted by guerrilla movements such as FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), with 400 churches being forced to close in areas under the control of armed groups. Christians have also been killed for speaking out against violence and the widespread drug trade.

Morocco
Religious Freedom Rating: 4 (7 is worst)
Anyone converting to Christianity can face charges of treachery and illegal contact with foreign missions. A small Moroccan church is emerging, estimated to number some 500 indigenous believers in 2000.

Mauritania
Religious Freedom Rating: 6 (7 is worst)
Islam is the state religion, and conversion from Islam is strictly forbidden. The Catholic Church is the only recognised religious group outside of Islam. Sharia law is intermittently applied.

Algeria
Religious Freedom Rating: na (7 is worst)
In recent years Christians have been attacked by the Islamic Salvation Front, and Islamic fundamentalists are pushing for the implementation of Sharia law.

Libya
Religious Freedom Rating: na (7 is worst)
Sunni Islam is the state religion, but secular influences are strong. There are very few Libyan Christian believers. There is a limit of one church per denomination per city.

Egypt
Religious Freedom Rating: 5 (7 is worst)
The constitution gives preference to Muslims, and Christians are often treated as second-class citizens, denied political representation and discriminated against in employment. The Egyptian Coptic Church is by far the largest body of Christians in the Middle East.

Somalia
Religious Freedom Rating: na (7 is worst)
The small Somali church has been driven underground, and exists mainly in the south. A number of believers have been martyred, others have been publicly named as targets for execution.

Turkey
Religious Freedom Rating: 5 (7 is worst)
The Christian Population has declined from 22 per cent in 1900 to 0.32 per cent today. There is increasing openness by the government to recognise Turkey as a multi-cultural, multi-religious country. Periodic acts of violence against non-Muslim institutions.

Syria
Religious Freedom Rating: na (7 is worst)
Christian minorities are tolerated and have freedom to worship and witness within their own community, but all activities that could threaten the government or communal harmony are carefully watched.

Kuwait
Religious Freedom Rating: na (7 is worst)
Christians are free to live and work in Kuwait, but must worship in a recognized location. Evangelism to Kuwaitis is forbidden.

Saudi Arabia
Religious Freedom Rating: 7 (7 is worst)
Saudi Arabia is the guardian of Islam’s two holiest sites, Mecca and Medina. Any citizen who converts from Islam to another religion faces the death penalty. Islamic Sharia law is the main source of legislation.

Qatar
Religious Freedom Rating: na (7 is worst)
Criticism of the ruling family monarchy or Islam is a crime. However expatriate believers are allowed to practice their faith.

Yemen
Religious Freedom Rating: na (7 is worst)
It is illegal for Muslims to convert to Christianity, and those Yemenis who do face many social pressures. Most Christians in the country are expatriates, many being Ethiopian refugees.

Oman
Religious Freedom Rating: na (7 is worst)
Churches and church activities for expatriates are allowed, but evangelism of Muslims is forbidden. There is a handful of indigenous believers.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Religious Freedom Rating: na (7 is worst)
Islam is the state religion. Expatriate Christians, representing many different language groups, have freedom to worship and witness to their faith.

Iran
Religious Freedom Rating: 7 (7 is worst)
Shi’a Islam is the state religion. Conversion from Islam to another faith is a capital crime. There is a ban on the printing of all Christian literature, and constant surveillance of churches and those who attend them.

Iraq
Religious Freedom Rating: na (7 is worst)
After the fall of Saddam Hussein, members of underground churches are struggling to practice their faith. The Christian community is largely Assyrian, with some Armenians. About one-third of all Christians fled Iraq in the 1990s.

Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)
Religious Freedom Rating: 4-7 (7 is worst)
The CIS comprises Russia and 11 other republics that were formerly part of the Soviet Union, including Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Christians face harassment and repression from both old-guard Communists, and Islamic militants.

Afghanistan
Religious Freedom Rating: na (7 is worst)
Public persecution of Christians has once again emerged, and Christians still face constant harassment from militant Muslims.

Nepal
Religious Freedom Rating: 5 (7 is worst)
Militant Hindus are targeting Christians with hostile propaganda and violence; while Maoist guerrillas, who control one-fifth of the country, have also attacked Christians.

India
Religious Freedom Rating: 5 (7 is worst)
States such as Orissa and Gujarat have been racked by violence as radical Hindus have attacked Christian communities. Six Indian states have passed anti-conversion laws that impose prison terms and fines against anyone using force, fraud or allurement to convert another.

Bangladesh
Religious Freedom Rating: 6 (7 is worst)
Islam is the state religion, and radical Muslims are pushing for the introduction of full Islamic Sharia law. Hindus, Christians and Buddhists have all experienced religious discrimination and attacks by militant Muslims.

Sri Lanka
Religious Freedom Rating: 4 (7 is worst)
Buddhism is given the ‘foremost place’ in the Constitution. Militant Buddhists have increasingly instigated mob violence against evangelical Christians in rural areas. 65 churches were attacked in 2003.

Bhutan
Religious Freedom Rating: 6 (7 is worst)
All public worship and evangelism by non-Buddhists is illegal. The king wields absolute power, and there are no legal guarantees on freedom of religion.

Burma (Myanmar)
Religious Freedom Rating: 7 (7 is worst)
The State Peace and Development Council attempts to control every religious activity. All gatherings of five or more people are illegal. Ethnic minorities, such as the Karen, have been targets of repression.

Malaysia
Religious Freedom Rating: 4 (7 is worst)
Although the constitution guarantees religious freedom, fundamentalist Muslims do everything in their power politically to inhibit Christian evangelism. Ethnic Malays are not allowed to have a Christian place of worship.

Laos
Religious Freedom Rating: n/a (7 is worst)
Communist leaders in some districts have implemented a program called ‘New Mechanism’ in which anyone who does not convert to Buddhism or animism is forcibly removed from their district. Christian villagers have been forced to sign documents renouncing their faith.

Eritrea
Religious Freedom Rating: n/a (7 is worst)
Evangelical Christians have come under increasing pressure. Only four religious groups are allowed to hold public meetings: Muslims, Catholics, Orthodox and Lutheran. Evangelical Christians have been imprisoned.

Maldives
Religious Freedom Rating: n/a (7 is worst)
This popular holiday destination in the Indian Ocean hides a repressive regime. Free speech is not respected for the press or non-Muslim religions. In 1998 all known Maldivian Christians were arrested.

Tibet
Religious Freedom Rating: 7 (7 is worst)
Christians find themselves caught between pressure from both Buddhism and Chinese communism. In 1999 the Chinese Communist Party in Lhasa decreed that atheism is necessary to promote economic development in the region, and to assist the struggle against the Dalai Lama (who fled in 1959).

Most Western Christians truly have NO IDEA what life has been like for some Christians in other areas of the world.

The following extraordinary story of Christian persecution is from The Voice Of The Martyrs:

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Pastor Florescu couldn’t bear to watch his son being beaten by the Communist officers. He had already been beaten himself, and he had not slept for two weeks for fear of being attacked by the starving rats the Communists had forced into his prison cell. The Romanian police wanted Florescu to give up other members of his underground church so that they, too, could be captured.

Seeing that the beatings and torture weren’t working, the Communists brought in Florescu’s son Alexander, only fourteen years old, and began to beat the boy. While Florescu watched, they hammered his son’s body unmercifully, telling the pastor that they would beat his son to death unless he told them the locations of other believers.

Finally, half mad, Florescu screamed for them to stop.

“Alexander, I must say what they want!” he called out to his son. “I can’t bear your beatings anymore.”

His body bruised, blood running from his nose and mouth, Alexander looked his father in the eye. “Father, don’t do me the injustice of having a traitor as a parent. Stand strong! If they kill me, I will die with the word Jesus on my lips.”

The boy’s courage enraged the Communist guards, and they beat him to death as his father watched. Not only did he hold on to his faith, he helped his father do the same.

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But perhaps you don’t think it could happen in the United States?

Just check out this stunning footage of a mob assaulting a Christian woman and stomping on a cross:

Sometimes the persecution is more subtle. A federal judge has ruled that the University of California can deny course credit to applicants from Christian high schools whose textbooks teach that God created the world. Is that not intense pressure on Christian high schools in California to compromise on their beliefs?

So what should we make of this?

Should we be surprised at this persecution?

The truth is that we should expect persecution.

In John 15:18, Jesus told us that those who believe in Him would be hated…..

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.”

The reality is that we are in the world but we are not of the world.

Our home is with the Lord, and while we are here we are in a battle to rescue as many lost souls as we can.

We have had freedom to preach the gospel in the western world for a long time, but that window of freedom is stating to close.  Persecution is coming, so if you are a Christian you need to get prepared.

  • Geoffrey

    Atheists are persecuted in every country in the world, by every religion.

  • admin

    Do you know of any country in the world today where atheists are being killed for being atheists?

  • Denis S

    Yes, I do.

    Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Iran, and many others.

    Even in the US, the supposed land of the free if you go into a highly religious area (Ohio, for example) and declare yourself an Atheist you’ll be lucky to escape with only a beating.

    • admin

      Yeah, we have heard about a lot of atheists being killed in Ohio……

  • JJack

    I’m confused. Isn’t it a little unfair for the people in the countries which outlaw Christianity? Are they all going to hell? Doesn’t the fact that people are denied access to the bible disprove the religion, or is there a fabricated excuse for another one of God’s infallible teachings? And don’t tell me free will, that’s a cop out, these people in all honesty have no free will to experience a text which isn’t available in their countries. And that whole ‘free will’ is pretty flawed with handicapped persons or chemically imbalanced people.

  • JJack

    “Yeah, we have heard about a lot of atheists being killed in Ohio……”

    ‘Admin,’ you do realize that you didn’t argue Denis’ comment? Instead you came up with this lame response that didn’t take into account his point at all.

  • WEB SITE; GODWHOISGOD.COM IS A GOSPEL TRACT IN OVER 50 LANGUAGES FOR EVANGELISM TO MUSLIMS, HINDUS AND SIKHS FOR JESUS CHRIST. THANKYOU. JAMES AND HAMSA.

  • ducks08

    i would jus like to see you provide proof of at least one person being killd in said countried. im not talkin bout a specific religion either. i want you to find me an article or something about a muslim being killd for bein a muslim, a christian for bein a christian, an atheist for bein an atheist, a buddhist for bein a buddhist…i think u get the idea. and wen i say an article about someone dying thats wat im talkin bout not a poll about whos going to be least likely to be voted president becuase im asking about who is most persecutedin a way that is life threatening. i dont care if someone is dissing the religion or is like watever ur religion is BS, i want to know where people are running for their lives and where people are dying. i dont want to hear all this BS about o my religion is beaten all the time…poor us. i wanna see the proof. thanks. thought proof mite help end some fo this retarded battling. btw…jus in case anyones wondering. no i do not belong to any religion and neither do i carry any beliefs…so i guess im considered agnostic…but watever.

  • Nick Greco

    Atheism is not a religious system and cannot be compared to a religion, nor are atheists persecuted in any of the aforementioned countries. Though I am sure that it is possible for one to face the death penalty in Saudi Arabia for spreading a message that “Allah” does not exist, this cannot rightly be termed persecution for individuals such as these are not sought out to be harassed and harmed. Communism, spearheaded by Militant atheists the world over, is responsibile for the deaths of over 100 MILLION people this century-
    excluding wars. China, notoriously atheist, persecuted and killed 65,000,000 of its people,many for being Christian.
    Karl Marx, Stalin, and Lenin all opposed the orthodox church and spought to destroy it.
    Christianity does’nt kill, atheism does, and its happening today all over the globe.

  • Tyao

    Atheism is a religion. It has a creation myth (evolution and the Big Bang), Priests (Secular scientists), and a religious text (Darwin’s Origin of Sepecies and other works). Myth does not mean it is untrue. However, evolution does have problems not compatible with what we observe in the world. For example, evolution still has not explained Pateur’s experiments on biogenesis.

  • Tom

    Aid worker was killed for being a Christian

    Oct 21 2008

    A BRITISH woman aid worker was shot dead in Afghanistan by two Taliban hitmen yesterday.

    Gayle Williams, 34, was murdered in Kabul. The Taliban claimed she was killed because she was spreading Christianity.

    The killers jumped off a motorbike and executed her as she walked to work. She died at the scene after being shot in the body and leg with a pistol.

  • Tom

    Christian executed by Muslims
    May 06, 2010

    Three Islamic al-Shabaab rebels killed a Christian man in front of his home in Afgoye, Somalia on March 23. The men shot Mu’awiye Hilowle Ali at close range, hitting his head and chest and killing him instantly. Islamists had previously accused Mu’awiye and his family of spreading “fitna” — an Arabic word for religious discord. Trained in the former Soviet Union, Mu’awiye had served in the Somali armed forces. He converted to Christianity in 2006. Members of al-Shabaab refused to allow Mu’awiye’s body to be buried in a public graveyard, calling it Muslim territory. As a result, he has been temporarily buried in the compound of his home. He is survived by his wife and 10 children.

  • Tom

    Christian murdered; believer’s house burned down
    March 25, 2010

    Islamic al-Shabaab rebels in Somalia tracked down and killed an underground church leader on March 15 in Mahaday village after Madobe Abdi had previously escaped a kidnapping attempt on March 2. Madobe’s death adds to a growing number of Christians murdered by Islamic militants, but his was distinctive in that he was not a convert from Islam. Madobe, an orphan, was raised as a Christian.

  • Tom

    Underground church leader killed Print E-mail
    February 04, 2010

    Mohammed Ahmed Ali, a 41-year-old underground church leader, was shot and killed on January 1 on the outskirts of Mogadishu by members of the militant group al-Shabaab. Mohammed and his wife, Amina Ibrahim Hassan, were reportedly being monitored by the militants for signs that they had left Islam. The militants killed Mohammed, who became a Christian in 2000, after learning that he had organized New Year’s Day festivities for Christians. On January 3, Amina received threatening phone calls from the militants who stated, “We also know your home and that you are a follower of the Christians, and we are going to kill you.”

  • Tom

    Convert murdered by militants Print E-mail
    August 26, 2009

    A convert from Islam to Christianity was shot dead in Bulahawa, Somalia on August 18 by members of al-Shabaab, an Islamic militant group, according to an August 22 report from Compass Direct. In early 2009, Ahmed Matan (41) began facing harassment from Muslim militants who demanded to know why he had expanded his trading business to Mandera, a town in neighbouring Kenya. Two weeks before his death, Matan informed the former leader of the underground church he had attended since 2001 that militants were monitoring his activities and preventing him from working in Kenya. He stated, “I am afraid for my life —

  • Misty

    This is a reply to JJack and his comment asking if the people who are oppressed and kept from God’s word (the Bible)are going to hell. I believe that God knows our heart and judges accordingly. He is a merciful and loving God. As mere men, we cannot understand all of His ways…

  • F H

    Atheism isn’t even a religion, it’s a way of existence & non belief.

  • Lucy Kelly

    Tom, good work! Misty, I agree!

  • I appreciate the article very much. Will you please consider updating and dating the information, as Persecution of CHRISTians is increasing in many nations around the world – and that includes here in the USA.

    Let all that are truly ‘Born again CHRISTians’ remember to pray for our brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ (Eph 6:18), that our Wonderous GOD will keep them whole in spirit, soul and body (1 Thess 5:23).

    Your brother only by the Grace of GOD,

    Nick