Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Sunday 26 September |
Saint of the Day: Sts Cosmas and Damian
home iconNews
line break icon

Violence against Christians increased in 2019, according to watchdog group



Zelda Caldwell - published on 01/17/20 - updated on 01/17/20

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 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

Religious Freedom
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
J-P Mauro
Chicago architect models Vatican City from 67,000 LEGO bricks
Cecilia Pigg
7 Ways the saints can help you sleep better at night
Philip Kosloski
Why J.R.R. Tolkien loved to attend daily Mass
The Sinai Peninsula and the Dead Sea Rift
J-P Mauro
Experts now believe Sodom was destroyed by a meteor
Bret Thoman, OFS
Exclusive photos: Meet Padre Pio and the place he lived
Philip Kosloski
How Our Lady saved Padre Pio from a violent demonic attack
Cerith Gardiner
9 Padre Pio quotes for when you’re feeling scared or uncertain
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.