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Persecution is a hard thing to represent in hard numbers, and not all persecution is violent. But for a start, a religious persecution watchdog group has launched a database to document violent incidents against people based on the religion they practice.
Global Christian Relief, a watchdog of Christian persecution based in Santa Ana, California, launched the Global Christian Relief Violent Incidents Database (VID), which they say is the first events-based global religious freedom dataset.
“Accessible to anyone, the database tracks more than a dozen categories of violence including killings, arrests, abductions and forced marriages; and users can search by country, religion and perpetrator,” a press release says. “In addition to providing a level of verification like never before, the database will serve as a resource for journalists, advocacy groups, government officials, and anyone concerned with data on violent religious persecution.”
Begins with 2022
The database contains global reports of violent attacks beginning in 2022, and is currently tracking more than 6,000 incidents, GCR says.
“This database helps give a voice to the voiceless by recording and sharing details of specific attacks suffered by Christians and other people of faith globally,” said David Curry, CEO of Global Christian Relief. “Our hope is that this remarkable resource will be utilized by anyone advocating and reporting on behalf of the persecuted Church.”
Curry serves on the United States Commission on Religious Freedom.
Funded by Global Christian Relief, the ongoing research for the GCR Violent Incidents Database is conducted by the International Institute for Religious Freedom (IIRF), a think tank specializing in religious freedom.
“We live in a world where the violent persecution of Christians and other religious groups is rampant and increasing,” said Ronald Boyd-MacMillan, Chief of Global Strategy and Research for Global Christian Relief. “This database not only helps us track the violence but helps us better understand what persecuted Christians really need from their brothers and sisters around the world.”
The GCR Violent Incidents Database will be highlighted during the International Religious Freedom Summit in Washington D.C., January 30-31.
Expanding to include freedom index
GCR said it will also launch this spring a Global Religious Freedom Index, which will measure religious freedom around the world by tracking every element of persecution, not only violence.
In his annual address to diplomats, Pope Francis lamented the increase in persecution and discrimination against Christians, especially over the last 10 years.
“At times, this involves nonviolent but socially significant cases of gradual marginalization and exclusion from political and social life and from the exercise of certain professions, even in traditionally Christian lands,” the Pope said Monday. “Altogether, more than 360 million Christians around the world are experiencing a high level of discrimination and persecution because of their faith, with more and more of them being forced to flee their homelands.”