About 260 million Christians were “severely persecuted” worldwide in 2019, up 15 million from a year earlier, according to a Doors Open Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) report published today.
The report points out, however, that the number of believers killed because of their faith has decreased.
This Protestant organization annually publishes its index using data from 50 countries where Christians are most persecuted. The period evaluated runs from November 2018 to October 2019.
260 million Christians – Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants, Baptists, Evangelicals, Pentecostals – were "severely persecuted," against 245 million in 2018, according to the organization.
The organization understands “persecution” situations of violence, which can go as far as murder, but also a more discreet daily oppression.
"This increase is explained, in particular, by the deterioration of the situation of religious freedom in China and by the implementation of jiadismo in Africa", writes the NGO.
The number of Christians killed fell from 4,305 to 2,983, down 31% from the previous year.
For three years the death toll has been on the rise, according to the organization Doors Open, which explains that this decrease may be related to a smaller number of Christians killed in Nigeria.
In this country, “there is a partial change in the tactics of Fulani pastors, who in addition to the murders now undergo kidnappings for ransom,” says Patrick AFP Patrick Victor, director of Doors Open France.
However, Nigeria remains “at the top” of the countries with the largest number of Christians killed due to their faith (1,350 dead).
In addition, the number of churches persecuted (closed, attacked, damaged, burned) increased in a year from 1,847 to 9,488, an increase "mainly due to the Chinese regime's action against churches in China (at least 5,576)", adds the organization .
The report also reveals that the number of Christians detained has increased from 3,150 to 3,711, mainly in China, Eritrea and India.
Of the total persecutions identified, North Korea is again at the top of this annual ranking.
"The totalitarian domination of the regime in each individual makes faith in God a crime against the regime, reason enough to end his life in a forced labor camp", according to the NGO.
Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, Pakistan, Eritrea, Sudan, Yemen, Iran, India and Syria follow.
Doors Open, a partner of Open Doors International (which operates in 60 countries), says its numbers are "below reality".
This association, which "provides spiritual, moral and humanitarian support" to persecuted Christians, has existed in France since 1976.
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