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Christians gather for Christmas under a new roof after Fulani terrorists burned the church down in 2021. Photo: International Christian Concern.

Up to 300 million Christians face persecution: report

Despite dire statistics about rising persecution, Christians are facing down terrorists and moving ahead with Christmas celebrations.

After multiple attacks on a village in northcentral Nigeria’s Plateau state from Fulani militants, a sense of hope emerged as the community reunited for a special Christmas service.  

For one congregation whose church was burned down in 2021, believers gathered this week under a new roof funded by International Christian Concern.

Sitting on building stones, Christians from the village joyfully sang Christmas songs of praise as the pastor preached from Matthew 1:16, and encouraged them to celebrate this year’s Christmas, hoping they would be free from Fulani militant attacks. 

An estimated 200 million to 300 million Christians worldwide are under persecution for their faith, according to Jeff King, president of International Christian Concern. “I’ve been doing this for 20-some years, and that’s bigger than the populace of Christians in the United States,” he said. “It ranges from light persecution to the decimation of the church, which is murder, assassination and torture.”

Although some of this persecution raging across the world is intense and deadly, King warned that Christians in the United States also face much lighter forms of denunciation but that the rebuke is necessary to mention and explore. “You see the job discrimination, that exclusion from the public square, the silencing, the firing, the court cases,” he said. “All that stuff is persecution.”

King cited several flashpoints this year, including Pakistan, where a 5,000-strong mob of radical Muslims destroyed two dozen churches and hundreds of homes in the Christian enclave of Jaranwala. In Nigeria, millions of Christians have suffered attacks from radical Muslims during the past 20 years, resulting in a death toll that may be as high as one million and the loss of 3.5 million farms.

“Across the globe, our brothers and sisters can be imprisoned or killed simply for identifying as a follower of Jesus,” he said. “They are legally prevented from telling others about their faith, and anti-conversion and blasphemy laws are used to falsely charge Christians with crimes.”

The organization’s 2023 persecution report compiled a comprehensive list of the world’s worst persecutors broken down by individual actors, entities, and countries. It includes the countries of Nigeria, North Korea and India, and such groups as the Allied Democratic Forces, Al-Shabab, Fulani Militants, Sahel Terror Groups, the Taliban and Tatmadaw (Burmese Army).

Although King said he doesn’t want to be an alarmist, he cautioned that the “storm clouds are gathering,” describing the current dynamic in America as “persecution light.”

“But people need to wake up, because we are the frog in the kettle,” he said. “And, if you just follow the trajectory, we need to do something. We need to raise our voice. We need to shout and we need to cry foul when a foul is being perpetrated against us.”


–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice



One comment

  1. When we include armed comabatants and religion, we always have a problem. It says something when a thousand years after the crusades, we haven’t learned the the first facts of War that have lasted thousands of years produce no answers, only death. I believe that every individual has the right to have their own beliefs, many on the basis of heritage and experiences, but nobody has the right to enforce ones belief on another. It is one thing to share a discussion, but any action to damage or eradicate another based on belief or skin color should not happen, but it does. Perhaps, the concept that your your rights and beliefs are limited to only the rights and beliefs you grant to others may seem old fashioned, but it works. There is a quote from Eistein that fits: “Two things are infinite, the universe and stupitity, and I’m not sure about the universe.”

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