The persecution of Christians around the world has grown, both numerically and in its intensity, in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is according to figures released in the 2021 World Watch List (WWL).
Open Doors reports that the WWL, which records levels of persecution and discrimination across the globe, found that more than 340 million Christians suffer high levels of persecution and discrimination for their faith – one in eight worldwide.
The report shows that, rather than the spread of Covid-19 slowing down the rate of persecution, in many cases, it has been greatly intensified – in a variety of forms:
- Christians in numerous African and Asian nations have been refused coronavirus aid.
- Islamic militants have exploited Covid-19 restrictions, increasing violence against Christians in sub-Saharan Africa by 30 per cent.
- Covid-19 has legitimised repression through increased surveillance by authoritarian governments such as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
- Women have been especially vulnerable in Covid-imposed lockdowns, with psychological violence as well as kidnapping and forced conversions.
Henrietta Blyth, CEO of Open Doors UK and Ireland, commented on the latest list: “It has been a tough year for billions of people. However, for many of the 340 million Christians worldwide who face persecution and discrimination, things have been worse still. My heart breaks when I hear of believers in India and Vietnam being refused food aid and told ‘let your God feed you’. Or when I hear of women like a Christian mother-of-three from Egypt who was kidnapped by the Muslim Brotherhood and forced to declare she had ‘converted’ in a video.
“However, I don’t despair; I have seen face-to-face the inspiring strength and bravery of Christians around the world who deal with this persecution. At Open Doors we work to support, encourage and advocate for these remarkable men, women and children, who stand firm in their faith in spite of everything.”
Mass discrimination in distribution of Covid aid
Reports of Christians being denied aid during the Covid crisis are widespread, particularly in rural areas, including: India, Myanmar, Nepal, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Central Asia, Malaysia, North Africa, Yemen and Sudan. At times this was by government officials; more often it was by village heads and committees or others. Some reported food ration cards torn up or waved away.
In India, of more than 100,000 Christians who received food aid from Open Doors partners, 80 per cent reported they had been dismissed from distribution points. In Kaduna, Nigeria, families from several villages say they received roughly one-sixth of the rations allocated to Muslim families.
The effect of this is exacerbated by higher levels of unemployment among Christians in many of India’s regions, leaving families destitute.
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SOURCE: Assist News