Persecuted & Forgotten? –A Report on Christians Oppressed for their Faith 2011-2013

Church on Fire
The 2013 Persecuted and Forgotten? Report provides in-depth analysis of the situation Christians face in 30 countries where believers, to one degree or another, are not fully free to practice their faith. In the past two years violence and intimidation targeting Christians have increased in a number of nations. In 20 of the 30 countries surveyed in the report the situation has worsened. In other settings, where the problems were already extreme, there has been little or no change. In some areas, the Christian faith is actually at risk of being eliminated altogether.

Front and center is the development that, for the Church in the Middle East, the Arab Spring has turned into a Christian Winter. There are now grave questions about the long-term survival of Christianity in the Middle East, its ancient heartland. All faith communities have suffered, but Christian communities have proved more vulnerable than most and have been disproportionately affected by violence and turmoil.

Rising Islamism

Radical Islamist groups' objectives include the eradication – or at least the subordination – of Christianity. Well-funded, politically well-connected and banking on sophisticated weaponry and military training, radical groups have struck Christian communities hard, killing scores of Christians and damaging numerous church buildings. Radical Muslim groups are also increasingly active in Africa—notably in Nigeria, Mali, the Central African Republic and Tanzania—and stepping up their already dominant role in Pakistan and elsewhere on the Asian subcontinent.

Communism remains an enemy of the Church

Communist countries have renewed efforts to crack down on Christians—more for their perceived links to the West and dissident groups than for their beliefs per se. In North Korea, formal religious activity remains virtually nil and is highly monitored. China has reasserted its authority over Christian groups, especially those not formally sanctioned by the government. Vietnam has continued to impose serious restraints on Christians. The situation has improved slightly in Laos and Cuba, although significant problems remain there as well.

Threat to religious freedom is a threat to human rights across the board

Pope John Paul II said that the degree of respect for religious liberty is "the litmus test for the respect of all other human rights.” In that light, the Report—noting that persecution against Christians is worsening in many countries, while remaining at a critical level in a number of others—concludes that the struggle for basic human freedoms is losing ground around the world.

Please click here to access the full report.  Please click here to access the executive summary of the report.

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