In 2016, ninety thousand Christians around the world were murdered for their faith, according to Italy’s Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR) religious study group. That equates to one Christian being killed every six minutes.
Massimo Introvigne, the director of the Center for Studies on New Religions, told Vatican Radio that Christianity is now the most persecuted religious group in the world.
According to statistics found and complied by CESNUR, around 500,000 Christians around the world are unable to practice their faith completely freely.
Data from the Center for the Study of Global Christianity also shows that seventy percent of the killings of Christians in 2016 took place during tribal conflicts in Africa.
Introvigne explained that the large number of deaths could be explained by the fact that many devoted Christians refuse to take up arms.
The remaining 30 percent, 27,000, of murders occurred during terrorist attacks, the destruction of Christian villages, or persecution by the authorities.
The number of Christian killings has decreased from 2015, where the numbers were 105,000 deaths, as Introvigne pointed out.
The Chaldean Bishop of Aleppo, Antione Audo, said earlier this year that during the five years of the Syrian conflict, the Christian population of Syria declined from 1.5 million people to roughly 50,000. Most of the remaining Christians reside in areas controlled by the Syrian government after fleeing jihadist groups.
The Center for Studies on New Religious is due to release full statistics on Christian persecution in January.