Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has released its global report on Christians oppressed for their faith titled “Persecuted and Forgotten?”.
The report covers the time frame 2013-2015, a time when the numbers of refugees and displaced people have hit an all-time high.
The report’s executive summary provides an at-a-glance summary of findings:
Islamist groups have carried out religiously motivated ethnic cleansing of Christians notably in parts of Africa and the Middle East. If this continues, the Church’s survival in these regions is threatened.
The fear of genocide – in many cases well founded – has prompted an exodus of Christians, notably from the Middle East and parts of Africa.
As a result of this exodus, Christianity is on course to disappear from Iraq possibly within five years – unless emergency help is provided at an international level on a massively increased scale.
A huge exodus of Christians in other parts of the Middle East, such as Syria, combined with increasing pressures on the faithful in Saudi Arabia and Iran, mean that the Church is being silenced and driven out of its ancient biblical heartland.
The rise of militant Islamist groups in Nigeria, Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania and other parts of Africa is destabilising the Christian presence on the one continent which until now has been the Church’s brightest hope for the future.
Christians have been targeted by nationalist religious movements – Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist – many of which see Christianity increasingly as a foreign ‘colonial’ import. Christians are viewed with suspicion and are seen as linked to the West, which is perceived as corrupt and exploitative.
The decline of Christianity in many countries of concern may significantly damage prospects for peace in regions where Church leaders and others have played important roles in education, community development and inter-faith cooperation.
Totalitarian regimes, including China, have put increasing pressures on Christianity, which is perceived as a threat not least because of its growing ‘underground’ support.
You can download the Executive Summary of Persecuted and Forgotten? A report on Christians oppressed for their faith 2013-15. Use the link to the right of this page. For the full report, visit ACN’s website.
Aid to the Church in Need is a Pontifical Foundation of the Catholic Church, supporting the Catholic faithful and other Christians where they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need.
Each year it funds around 5,000 projects in more than 130 countries around world, helping to support the Church in its mission, and bringing hope and solidarity to millions of people.