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Bishop of Truro’s Independent Review for the Foreign Secretary of FCO Support for Persecuted Christians

Bishop of Truro’s Independent Review for the Foreign Secretary of FCO Support for Persecuted Christians

United Kingdom (UK)
News Date: 

There is widespread evidence showing that “today, Christians constitute by far the most widely persecuted religion.”19 Finding once again that Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world, the Pew Research Center concluded that in 2016 Christians were targeted in 144 countries20 – a rise from 125 in 2015.21 According to Pew Research, “Christians have been harassed in more countries than any other religious group and have suffered harassment in many of the heavily Muslim countries of the Middle East and North Africa.”22 Reporting “a shocking increase in the persecution of Christians globally”, Christian persecution NGO Open Doors (OD) revealed in its 2019 World Watch List Report on anti-Christian oppression that “approximately 245 million Christians living in the top 50 countries suffer high levels of persecution or worse”23, 30 million up on the previous year.24 Open Doors stated that within five years the number of countries classified as having “extreme” persecution had risen from one (North Korea) to 11.25 Both OD and Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) have highlighted the increasing threat from “aggressive nationalism”26 or “ultra-nationalism”27 in countries such as China and India – growing world powers – as well as from Islamist militia groups. According to Persecution Relief, 736 attacks were recorded in India in 2017, up from 348 in 2016.28 With reports in China showing an upsurge of persecution against Christians, between 2014 and 2016, government authorities in Zheijiang Province targeted up to 2,000 churches, which were either partially or completely destroyed or had their crosses removed.29

Evidence shows not only the geographic spread of anti-Christian persecution, but also its increasing severity. In some regions, the level and nature of persecution is arguably coming close to meeting the international definition of genocide, according to that adopted by the UN.30 The eradication of Christians and other minorities on pain of “the sword”31 or other violent means was revealed to be the specific and stated objective of extremist groups in Syria, Iraq, Egypt, north-east Nigeria and the Philippines. An intent to erase all evidence of the Christian presence was made plain by the removal of crosses, the destruction of Church buildings and other Church symbols.32 The killing and abduction of clergy represented a direct attack on the Church’s structure and leadership. Where these and other incidents meet the tests of genocide, governments will be required to bring perpetrators to justice, aid victims and take preventative measures for the future.

The main impact of such genocidal acts against Christians is exodus. Christianity now faces the possibility of being wiped-out in parts of the Middle East where its roots go back furthest. In Palestine, Christian numbers are below 1.5 percent33; in Syria the Christian population has declined from 1.7 million in 2011 to below 450,00034 and in Iraq, Christian numbers have slumped from 1.5 million before 2003 to below 120,000 today.35 Christianity is at risk of disappearing, representing a massive setback for plurality in the region.

Admin: We agree with this article from JihadWatch and whilst there is persecution of Christians in places like China and North Korea, it generally DOES NOT amount to wholesale murder. The genocidal part is down almost universally to Islamic jihad. Yes, a few Christian groups have started fighting back and the Bosian war could certainly be seen in that light. Memories of Ottoman occupation provoked a desire to prevent a repeat of that history in the area and arguably led to the policies that ended up in the Bosian war. We need to urgently start addressing the real impact of Islamic doctrines before there are more repeats of that brutal event. See Jihad Is Islamic and as Yahya Cholil Staquf says:

Among Muslims and non-Muslims, there is an urgent need to address those obsolete and problematic elements of Islamic orthodoxy that underlie the Islamist worldview, fuelling violence on both sides. The world’s largest Muslim organisation, Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama, of which I am General Secretary, has begun to do exactly that.
The truth, we recognise, is that jihadist doctrine, goals and strategy can be traced to specific tenets of orthodox, authoritative Islam and its historic practice. This includes those portions of Shariah that promote Islamic supremacy, encourage enmity towards non-Muslims and require the establishment of a caliphate. It is these elements – still taught by most Sunni and Shiite institutions – that constitute a summons to perpetual conflict.

Jihad Watch: UK government says its report on persecution of Christians “is not a stalking horse for the Islamophobic far right”

The report says that Christian persecution had “multiple drivers and as such it deserves special attention. More specifically it is certainly not limited to Islamic majority contexts. So this review is not a stalking horse for the Islamophobic far right, nor does it give the Islamophobic right a stick to beat Islam with.”

That is true. Not only Muslims persecute Christians. Christians are persecuted in North Korea as well. But eight of the ten worst countries for Christians are Muslim. The fact that other people besides Muslims persecute Christians does not mean that Muslims don’t persecute Christians, or that the Islamic theological reasons why they do so should not be studied. This study is not pursued as a “stick to beat Islam with,” but in order to uncover the root causes of the persecution, so that it can be ended. The UK government report has rendered itself essentially useless by its refusal to examine those root causes and dismissal of those who do so as the “Islamophobic far right.” Why is it “far right” to stand for the freedom of speech, the freedom of conscience, and the equality of rights of all people before the law?