Christians are the World’s Most Persecuted Group

Written By Anthony Daoud, Posted on January 13, 2020

Many of us in the West are unaware of the harsh religious persecution faced by Christians today. The widespread disenfranchisement faced by Christianity’s adherents has been relegated in the hierarchy of importance, thus becoming a topic that is seldom discussed. For this reason, the fact that Christians are the world’s most discriminated against and targeted religious community has gone entirely unnoticed. 

Whereas liberal democracies have embraced stable governments that constitutionally protect individual freedoms, there are various countries where the flame of liberty has either been extinguished or failed to exist altogether. 

Days after the devastating Sri Lanka 2019 Easter bombings, the BBC confirmed that Christians are, in fact, the most heavily persecuted religious group in the world, with atrocities reaching near-genocidal levels. Every day, on average, 11 Christians are killed for their faith in the 50 worst-offending countries.

Much information regarding this issue was collected through Bishop Truro’s Independent Report, a review commissioned by Jeremy Hunt, a British MP, who served as the Secretary of International and Commonwealth Affairs. 

The Middle East and North Africa 

The report found that persecution throughout the Middle East and North Africa regions (MENA) is substantially worse than anywhere else. It primarily manifests itself through “discrimination in education, employment and social life” but also includes widespread genocidal atrocities against Christian communities. Since the 21st century, the situation’s gravity has culminated in a “significant exodus of Christian believers.” 

Per Grandin Media, the Iraqi Christian population has witnessed a significant decline from 1.5 million before 2003 to less than 150,000 in more recent years, a testament to the country’s abysmal stance on religious freedom. 

In Syria, a nation stricken by civil war and internal turmoil that began nearly a decade ago, the Christian population has “dropped in size by two-thirds from its original 2 million in 2011”. 

Dealing with ISIS has also proved problematic for Middle Eastern Christians. In 2015, the National Association of Evangelicals found that due to ISIS, “the only Christians remaining in the entire Nineveh Plain of Iraq are those held as sex slaves.” Moreover, the radical Islamic organization was responsible for the destruction of many Christian religious edifices, as “nearly all of the region’s ancient churches and monasteries have been destroyed or converted into a mosque, madrassa or prison.” 

Albeit the dire situation, ISIS’s actions are no surprise. Since its early beginnings, the group has made it abundantly clear their ambition is to entirely eradicate Christianity, insofar as publishing propaganda illustrating their official black banner flying over St. Peter’s Square in Rome. Along with the jihad on Christendom, the former ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi was open about his intention to enslave all Christian females. And despite President Trump’s successful fight against ISIS, radical Islam continues to remain a severe threat to global peace and security.

In Egypt, Coptic Christians form the nation’s largest minority, however, face unprecedented levels of social exclusion, and discrimination injustice, education, and access to social services. It has become increasingly common for Coptic women hailing from rural areas to be kidnapped and forced into marriage with a Muslim spouse. Throughout Egypt, swaths of churches “are still awaiting official recognition,” and those made official by the state were subjected to attacks. 

Saudi Arabia, a country that shares a strong commercial relationship with the Western world, has institutionalized forms of discrimination. Strict limitations have been enacted against “all forms of expression of Christianity, including public acts of worship.” Moreover, there continue to be severe crackdowns on private Christian services. 


Religious tensions have forever existed in the MENA. However, Bishop Truro’s report finds the overthrow of dictatorial regimes during the Arab Spring opened Pandora’s Box. It reciprocated into an alarming growth of Islamic extremism that arguably remains the world’s greatest danger. Concurrent to the issue mentioned above is religious conservatism’s renaissance in Algeria and Turkey, respectively, two countries previously home to a moderately secular tradition. 

The report concludes its MENA analysis in a positive light, writing:

“Despite the disheartening nature of the situation, the steadfast presence of Christians in the region is a sign of hope and opportunity to advocate for religious protection, to advance pluralism and religious tolerance across the region as well as preserving Christian heritage, fostering positive relationships between Muslim and Christian communities, and encouraging peace and reconciliation.” 


Throughout Asia, Christianity is envisioned as an imperialist force, hence being heavily antagonized. In many countries, nationalist movements have openly embraced religious extremism to expand their base of support. It has subsequently led to the open discrimination against the region’s Christian populations. 

Harriet Sherwood, The Guardian’s religious correspondent, wrote in 2019 that one-in-three Asian Christians face persecution. It is most present in China, where XI Jinping continues to tighten his grip on the citizenry to augment his power. Sherwood also described the communist ruler as being “uneasy” by Christianity’s presence in the country. 

In India, the world’s largest democracy, right-wing Hindu extremists have carried out a myriad of attacks on Christian individuals and churches in the past years.

The situation is no different in India’s neighbour, Pakistan. Truro notes, “Under articles 295 B, 295 C, 298 A, 298 B, 298 C of the Pakistan Penal Code profaning the Qur’an and insulting Muhammad are both punishable offences, respectively carrying maximum sentences of life imprisonment and death.” Such was the case regarding Asia Bibi, a Christian woman imprisoned for ten years (originally sentenced to death) for supposedly employing blasphemous vocabulary. Others accused of charges of blasphemy are executed before their case “reaching the courts.” 

Even the continent’s smaller nations, injustices are committed against Christian populations. In Nepal, the governing Communist Party continues to observe the ban on Christian evangelization and Sri Lanka has witnessed an upturn in Islamic radicalism, which led to the deadly terrorist attack on Easter 2019. 

Sub-Saharan Africa

By 2060, Africa is projected to contain the world’s largest share of Christians. However, as indicated by Crux Now, the population growth has sadly resulted in egregious acts carried out by Islamic extremists who are concerned with losing dominance, especially in the Lake Chad area that includes parts of Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon, Burkina Faso and Mali. 

Crux Now’s article further iterates, “The Islamic State is increasing activities and influence with already established African terrorists – providing arms and know-how in an aim to establish new territories for conquest and expansion.”

Nigeria’s Christian community has endured the greatest suffering, mostly at the hands of Boko Haram, another powerful militant Islamic organization that has previously sworn allegiance to ISIS. Over the past decade, it was responsible for countless atrocities and acts of barbarity.

Akin to ISIS, Boko Haram has been rather transparent in declaring its goal to eradicate Christianity and establish complete Islamic hegemony. In 2014, the group kidnapped thousands of young girls, coercing the victims into receiving Islamic indoctrination. Those who opposed compliance were treated “the way the prophet treated the infidels he seized.” 

A recently published ACN UK report found massacres caused by Islamists in Nigeria had created 5,000 widows and 15,000 orphans. Furthermore, 200 churches and chapels, and 35 presbyteries and parish centres, were afflicted.


The Western media may pay little attention to the ongoing injustice, yet the problem is very present. The fact remains such, Christians are the world’s most persecuted religious group.

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Anthony Daoud

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