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Christian persecution on the rise in Asia, world

'One in seven Christians today is persecuted,' Vatican official Archbishop Fortunatus Nwachuku said
Christian worshippers attend the Good Friday procession outside the 10th century Greek Orthodox Church of St. George in the Old Cairo district of the Egyptian capital on April 26, 2019

Christian worshippers attend the Good Friday procession outside the 10th century Greek Orthodox Church of St. George in the Old Cairo district of the Egyptian capital on April 26, 2019. (Photo: AFP)

Published: August 23, 2023 11:53 AM GMT
Updated: August 23, 2023 12:13 PM GMT

Christians in Asia as well as across the world are facing a rising tide of various forms of persecution, which require global attention and action, says a report.

The recent deadly violence against Christians in Pakistan’s Punjab province and India’s Manipur state are examples of an increase in violent attacks on Christians in Asia, Catholic Peace Broadcasting Corporation of Korea reported on Aug. 22.

The report refers to a statement from Archbishop Fortunatus Nwachuku, the permanent observer of the Vatican to the United Nations (UN), who denounced at the General Assembly of the UN Human Rights Council in March that “one in seven Christians today is persecuted.”

The Nigerian prelate’s statement echoed Pope Francis’ lament in 2014 when he said: “There are more witnesses, more martyrs in the Church today than there were in the first centuries.”

Besides Pakistan and India, Christian persecution is rampant in Asia’s communist nations – China, Vietnam and Laos, as well as in African nations like Nigeria where armed extremist outfits continue to attack and kill Christians, the report stated.

Even in Israel, the 'land of the Bible,' Catholic monasteries have recently been trampled by Jewish extremists, it pointed out.

The burning of churches and Christian houses on false allegations of blasphemy has shown the insecure life of Christians amid threats from Islamic hardliners.

The death of 190 people and destruction of churches and Christian homes in sectarian violence in India’s Manipur state has revealed the ruling government has failed to act but stoked the conflict to gain votes, the report noted.

India is among those countries where “cunning persecution” exists, where political parties “shout tolerance in the front and secretly oppress Christians behind the scenes.”

The report also noted the precarious situation of the Church in Nicaragua, in Central America, which is groaning under the dictatorship of Daniel Ortega. The Ortega regime detained clergy who took the lead in defending democracy, expelled nuns, and froze the property of universities run by the church. 

Recently, he denied entry to two native priests returning from the World Youth Day (WYD) in Lisbon.

In Nigeria, Islamic extremist armed groups continue to attack churches. The whereabouts of Oblate missionary Father Nwaoucha, who was kidnapped in June, is still unknown. 

The abduction of Father Nwaoucha is the 'tip of the iceberg' in Nigeria's Catholic persecution, the report noted. 

In June alone, a priest in his first year of ordination was shot dead, and Father Mbamara of the Diocese of Nnewy was kidnapped and later released. According to local human rights groups, the number of Nigerian Christians who lost their lives 'because of religious belief' in 2021 reached 4,600.

The Chinese communist government’s persecution of Christians has intensified.

According to the new measures on religious matters issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs, from September all religious activities can only be held in places authorized by the government. The installation of religious symbols is also limited to indoors. 

The report noted that the authorities in China’s eastern province of Zhejiang were forcibly removing crosses installed outside churches. The work of removing crosses, which had been carried out intermittently, seems to be starting in earnest after Xi Jinping's third term in office was confirmed.

Attacks and persecution against Christians are also on the rise in Israel. In recent months, threats, intimidation and acts of violence against Christians in the Holy Land have increased. Churches were defaced, Christian icons were destroyed, and Protestant cemeteries were desecrated.

In particular, in July, Jewish extremists broke into the Carmelite Stella Maris Monastery in the port city of Haifa and staged a riot. A group of people who believed in the false information that the tomb of the prophet Elisha was in the monastery church claimed its ownership and attempted to occupy the monastery.

“Unfortunately, it is true that attacks have increased recently. It is increasing, which is a concern,” Patriarch Pizzaballa, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, told Vatican News after the recent attacks.

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4 Comments on this Story
WHATGOESAROUNDCOMESAROUND
Just imagine how Christianity spread in first place? Killing, Forceful conversion, destroying many wonderful cultures, Christianity has been built on dead bodies of millions and millions of native people of those lands where Christianity was not even a religion. Universe remembers every single action by humans. Pays back eventually. Muslims too did same and today they are attacking and killing Christians. Someday they too get perished due to their cruelity on others.
JUDE DSOUZA
We need a world wide day of fast and prayer. An announcement by the Pope is the call of the day. It is the quiet sword that must be used to ensure the end of persecution and the growth of the Church, when all will surrender to Christ.
SOSIENG
Yes brother we need to pray and pray very dedicatedly for the return of peace amongst our fellowmen and to a great extent too live by example. But if the mountain does not come to Mohammad then Mohammad must go to the mountain. I hope you got my message.
SOSIENG
All minorities apparently face persecution around the world but more so the Christians because Christians only and only are depending on prayers and non violence to save themselves. They plead before super powers and other powerful coChristian countries to raise their voice against persecution of Christians in non Christian nations, other than that nothing more. Believe me these countries only takes care of their business interest and nothing more. They will pat their enemies on the back if they think it's productive for their own country. Look at how the US president shower the choicest words of praise upon the Indian PM inspite of knowing about the ever rising rate of persecution that's going on across the length and breadth of India.... In Manipur, Gujarat, madhya Pradesh, uttrakhand, uttar Pradesh, to name just a few. How the rss moves around slaughtering Christians and Muslims in the name of saving an animal of prey, which they worship. What's peculiar about this is when you consider cow as God then why slaughter it for its skin to manufacture your shoes which you wear on your feet. Why not go around on wooden sandals like Mahatma Gandhi did. You see, these are all excuses to eliminate all other religion that is dissimilar to theirs and to ensure that only their cult and culture exists..Unlike our Muslim brothers who while doing their namaz would ignore their abusers but immediately after the namaz gets over they would rise and defend their faith even at the cost of their lives... For the faith in which they believe in. They are warriors. Where are the Christian warriors to prove our enemies that you can't mess up with us. God will only help those who help themselves so let's rise in unison and defend our faith with all our might. Let's call back our crusaders of old in us. Let's persuade our enemies into a culture that can co exist in peace and brotherhood if they give in, otherwise we too can show that we mean business through our actions. Well, these are my very personal sentiments after seeing excess around me and yet can do nothing much about appeasing the situation and ensuring the world that we can live as brothers and sisters in pursuing our respective cause.
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