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Violence against Christians increased in 2019, according to watchdog group

NIGERIA
PIUS UTOMI EKPEI | AFP
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Open Doors reports that more than 9,000 churches and Christian buildings were attacked.

The violent persecution of Christians surged in 2019, according to the non-profit watchdog group Open Doors.

At a January 15 press conference, Open Doors reported that in 2019 more than 9,000 churches and Christian buildings were attacked in 51 countries, with more than 5,500 of these attacks taking place in China.

The group’s report noted that while attacks on churches increased, in the last year, the number of Christians killed for their faith decreased from 4,300 to 2,983. This was due, the group said, to a change in the tactics of the militant Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria, who shifted from raiding homesteads and communities to kidnapping and roadblocks.

Key numbers related to violence against Christians in 2019:

2,983 Christians were killed for their faith

8,537 Christians were raped or sexually harassed for their faith

9,488 Churches or Christian buildings were attacked

3,711 Christians were unjustly arrested or imprisoned

1,052 Christians were abducted for faith-related reasons

3,315 Christian homes were attacked, burned or destroyed

Open Doors released its 2020 World Watch List, naming the worst perpetrators of violence against Christians.

The top ten are as follows:

1. North Korea
2. Afghanistan
3. Somalia
4. Libya
5. Pakistan
6. Eritrea
7. Sudan
8. Yemen
9. Iran
10. India

OPEN DOORS; PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS MAP
Open Doors USA

Of particular concern, the group reported evidence of three recent trends in the global persecution of Christians, as outlined below.

1. New surveillance methods in China and India: Technological advances in surveillance methods are widely used to persecute Christians. 

2. Increase in violent extremism in sub-Saharan Africa: Christians in Burkina Faso, Mali, Central African Republic, Nigeria, and Cameroon have been murdered and kidnapped by violent Islamic militants. 

3. Christianity is disappearing from Iraq and Syria, where Christians have fled war and may not return: In Iraq the christian population is down to 202,000 from 1.5 million before 2003. In Syria, Christians number around 744,000 — down from 2.2 million.

To read the complete report visit OpenDoorsUSA.org.

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