Will 2017 Be The End of Christian Persecution?

Jan 4th, 2017 | By | Category: News Posts

Destroyed church in Qaraqosh, Iraq.

Release International issued a new warning about persecution of Christians around the world in 2017. The greatest area of concern continues to be the Islamic world, where Christians are persecuted by both extremist groups and state governments.

In 2016, it was reported that at least 90,000 Christians were killed for their faith across the globe.

Release has made some unfortunate predictions about what persecution will look like in 2017.

In the Middle East, conflict in Syria and Iraq will most likely continue to force thousands, including many Christians, to flee their homes. Release predicts: “In 2017, the refugee crisis in the neighboring regions is likely to continue. One focus will be Kurdistan in northern Iraq, which is now home to nearly two million internally displaced people.”

Babies of Iraqi Christian refugees fleeing the Islamic State need diapers – Please help!

More likely than not, the Islamic State will continue its horrific and brutal war against Christianity in 2017.

In Iran, it is likely that the government will continue to clampdown on underground churches and their Christian leaders. Release’s partner says: “Persecution in Iran is increasing. The state identifies Christianity, particularly the house churches, as a threat to the Islamic Republic.”

Christians in Nigeria will continue to face threats from groups like the Boko Haram, who since 2011 has killed up to 15,000 people- many of them Christian.

In Pakistan, Christians will continue to face persecution and discrimination by the government and legal system to do blasphemy laws: “Christians in Pakistan are considered third-class citizens… in 2017 we will face more discrimination, forced conversions and forced marriages.”

In India, church leaders have reported an increase in violent persecution from Hindu extremists. There have been a recorded 134 attacks on Christians or churches in the first half of 2016 and it is expected that this number will climb in 2017.

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China’s 2016 draft Regulations on Religious Affairs looks determined to increase the pressure on unregistered churches in the country in an effort to make the Church “more Chinese in character.”

China Aid said: “The restrictions are meant to hinder house churches and reduced contact with organizations outside of the government-controlled Chinese churches.” A pastor told Release, “The [Communist] Party wants to take charge of religion. The government wants to control everything- even the smallest aspects.”

In China, many Christians are charged with offenses related to espionage and state security, so they are treated as enemies of the state.

Paul Robinson, chief executive of Release, believes “2017 looks set to be a harsh year for many Christians, under authoritarian regimes and at the hands of militants. Our Christian family will need our prayers and practical support.”

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