Persecuting groups for their religious beliefs is a stain on humanity that is, tragically, unlikely to go away anytime soon. Different faiths have suffered such atrocities for thousands of years. At the current time, it would appear that Christians are the most persecuted faith.
Christians are the most persecuted religious group in the world, with around 90,000 killed for their faith in 2016, the director of a leading religious study group has said.
Massimo Introvigne, Director of the Centre for Studies on New Religions (Cesnur), told Vatican Radio that around half a billion Christians in the world are unable to express their faith completely freely, while around 90,000 – one every six minutes – died for their faith in the past year alone.
Referring to statistics from the Centre for the Study of Global Christianity, Mr Introvigne said around 70 per cent of Christians murdered in 2016 died in tribal conflicts in Africa. These deaths were included, he said, because very often they involved Christians who refuse to take up arms for reasons of conscience.
“The other 30 per cent, or 27,000, were killed in terror attacks, the destruction of Christian villages, or government persecution,” he added.
These are horrific statistics and reveal a level of barbarism that coincides with the wars that are currently in progress worldwide. For those of us who live in Western nations, this level persecution is difficult to appreciate. But for those who live in nations filled with ethnic and religious strife, these occurrences are far too real.
Those who are on the front-lines of the battle to elimination religious persecution deserve our admiration, support, and prayers.