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Persecuted Christians Are Not Given Much Hope In 2020

Our hope for persecuted Christians is in the Lord, the creator of the heavens and the earth. Ultimately we know that the cross that so many Orthodox Christians and Christians of other faith traditions are carrying worldwide will lead to the resurrection.

At the same time, this Forbes article is correct that faith leaders can only stand up effectively for the persecuted “if states and international actors do not step up their game and address the issue. It is crucial to realize that more and more states are waking up to these issues, recognizing that it requires a comprehensive response.” We hope and pray that this comprehensive response continues to gather momentum.

For previous ChristianPersecution.com coverage of the persecution of Christians in the Middle East and elsewhere, and the imminent disappearance of Christianity from some of its ancient strongholds, see here.

“Persecuted Christians Are Not Given Much Hope In 2020,” by Ewelina U. Ochab, Forbes, February 18, 2020:

In January 2020, Open Doors, an international NGO advocating on behalf of persecuted Christians, released their annual World Watch List. The World Watch List provides an assessment of 50 countries where Christians face the most severe types of persecution. At the very top of the list, the countries which show extreme levels of persecution, we see North Korea, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, Pakistan, Eritrea, Sudan, Yemen, Iran, India and Syria.

The World Watch List 2020 does not give much hope for the persecuted communities. Indeed, it presents a grim picture of the situation of Christians globally making it very clear that the persecution encountered by them continues to get worse. The report identifies that, “in 2020, 260 million Christians live in World Watch List top 50 countries where Christians are at risk of high, very high or extreme levels of persecution. This is up from 245 million in 2019.” The report also emphasizes some important, negative changes within global trends of the persecution of Christians. Furthermore, it identified that: “countries which had previously avoided more intense levels of persecution, such as Sri Lanka and Burkina Faso have, in the reporting period, experienced destabilizing violence, highlighting the fragile persecution context in west Africa and south Asia.”

The report suggests that we should be positive about the future for persecuted Christians globally, as “faith actors across the world are standing firm and strengthening communities against the odds. Church leaders, wider church networks and faith based non-governmental organizations provide a lifeline of care in isolated places, where no other help is forthcoming.” However, the numbers and the narrative gives a very different impression. According to the report, the situation in China continues to worsen as more and more churches in China are experiencing pressure at the hands of the Chinese state. Indeed, in the reporting period, over 5,500 churches have been destroyed, closed down or confiscated. In India, Christian minorities are subjected to extreme persecution which manifested in at least 1,445 physical attacks and death threats against Christians in 2019. In Nigeria, in 2019, approximately 1,350 Christians were killed for their faith. Indeed, these numbers do not give much hope to the persecuted.

One must acknowledge the great contribution of faith leaders across the world, standing up for the persecuted. However, it is important to recognize that their assistance can do only so much if states and international actors do not step up their game and address the issue. It is crucial to realize that more and more states are waking up to these issues, recognizing that it requires a comprehensive response….

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