Record-breaking 360 million Christians persecuted in 2021

A cross lies in the rubble of a destroyed church that was blown up by Islamic State militants in 2015, in the deserted village of Tal Jazeera, northern Syria. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla, File)
By John Cody
4 Min Read

Christians are more persecuted than ever, according to Open Doors NGO published statistics, which published its finding for 2021 on Wednesday.

Of all the countries where Christians face the most persecution, Afghanistan is the worst, according to the organization. The NGO’s statistics show that 360 million were facing some form of persecution in 2021, with forms of persecution ranging from state-based discrimination all the way to outright murder. Although the finding may seem enormous, the scale of Christian persecution recorded by the NGO is largely in line with other reports, including from a United Kingdom government commission, which found Christian persecution to be reaching “near genocide levels.

Patrick Victor, head of Portes Ouvertes France, said the persecution has reached its record level, with the number of those persecuted increasing by 20 million compared to the previous year.

FILE – Pope Francis, surrounded by shells of destroyed churches, leads a prayer for the victims of war at Hosh al-Bieaa Church Square, in Mosul, Iraq, March 7, 2021. Pope Francis is celebrating his 85th birthday Friday, Dec. 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, file)

In 2021, almost 6,000 Christians were killed due to their religion. The number increased by 24 percent compared to the previous year, when less than 5,000 cases were recorded. Eight out of ten Christians killed were from Nigeria.

The number of closed, attacked, or destroyed churches has also increased by more than 600 cases. According to the organization, the number of detained Christians for religious reasons increased by 44%.

Although Nigeria featured the most Christians killed, outright persecution is the worst in Afghanistan, where the main cause is the growth in persecution is due to the Taliban following their takeover after President Joe Biden’s chaotic withdrawal from the country. In addition, radical Islamists have access to documents revealing those who converted to Christianity. It is believed that many murders go unreported. The Taliban kill identified men on the spot, rape Christian women or force them to marry. North Korea, Somalia, Libya, Yemen, Eritrea, and Nigeria follow Afghanistan on a sliding scale.

A mother comforts her crying child in Dogo Nahwa, Nigeria, Monday, March 8, 2010. More than 200 people, most of them Christians, were slaughtered on Sunday in central Nigeria, according to residents, aid groups and journalists. The local government gave a figure more than twice that amount, but offered no casualty list or other information to substantiate it. (AP Photos/Jon Gambrell)

Often overlooked by the news media, Christians are the most persecuted of any group in the world. In recent years, a record number of attacks on Christians has also been recorded in Europe.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has become one of the few European leaders that have become vocal about the topic, with his government hosting an annual summit on the topic of Christian persecution.

“Hungarians make up 0.2 percent of the world’s population. Does it make sense for such a small nation to stand up and act? Our answer is yes. And your presence, attention, encouragement and the fact that you are here today convinces us of this, not to mention the history of Christianity. The twelve apostles certainly represented a smaller proportion of humanity at their time than Hungarians today, yet we are all here,” Orbán said in 2019.

“A mysterious force shuts the mouths of European politicians and cripples their arms,” he added. “Christians are not allowed to be mentioned on their own, only together with other groups that are being persecuted for their faiths.”

Share This Article