Report: A record 309 million Christians were persecuted in 2020

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According to the newest report by Open Doors, four new countries joined the index of countries in which Christians are persecuted the most: Comoros, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Mexico.

Moreover, Open Doors activist Leszek Osieczko stated that the main sources of persecution are communism and radical Islam in sub-Saharan African states.

“The intensity of these persecutions, the ruthlessness, physical violence, rapes, pillaging of homes, and destroying of churches — these are the things with which they must struggle with, including kidnappings and the wounds due to that remain for a long time. Christians truly need mental support today, which will allow them to overcome these traumas,” he said.

Osieczko explained that there is also the issue of the coronavirus as local authoritarian and totalitarian regimes have used the pandemic as a pretext to impose several restrictions and control over local churches. This also worsened the economic situation of Christians in countries in which they are persecuted, such as India.

The activist pointed out that India’s government, which has taken a nationalistic approach and uses the slogan that India is also for worshipers of Hinduism, has deprived Christians, who often belong to the lowest social groups and castes, of economic support.

“The moment we are dealing with a lockdown, with limits on rights to conduct everyday work, they are unable to earn money and do not receive aid from the state, forcing them to experience starvation,” he said.

Worrying discriminatory tendencies towards Christians in public life can also be seen in Europe. Leszek Osieczko underlined that manifestations of “aggressive secularity” affect those Christians in Western Europe the most, who are stripped of their voices when they want to express their opinions on the subject of important social issues.

He stressed that there are very important social subjects which the Church is fighting for. One of these is protection of unborn life and this is the number one topic where Christians are engaged in.

“Some have more rights to speak out on the subject than others, I believe. This concerns the subject of euthanasia. We also have a problem here when it comes to symmetry in social dialogue,” Osieczko stated.

The Open Doors report stated that in 2020, 9,488 church buildings were burned, destroyed or seriously damaged, compared to 4,488 in 2019.

The report also points to the number of Christians imprisoned without court trials, including those arrested and convicted. In 2020, there were 4,277 such imprisonments, with 55 percent of Christians imprisoned without trial in Asia, and 89 percent of Christians in Asia were sentenced due to their faith.

Open Doors also researches the number of kidnapped Christians. In 2020, there were 1,710 cases of kidnapping, which totals 658 more people than in 2019. The majority, 90 percent, of kidnappings occurred in Africa, with Nigeria experiencing the most Christian kidnappings in the world.


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