Top Church Destroying Countries

Top Church Destroying Countries

Church destroying countries

August 28, 2014 | Tom Olago
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80 per cent of all acts of religious discrimination in the world today are directed at Christians…. The Centre for the Study of Global Christianity in the United States estimates that 100,000 Christians now die every year, targeted because of their faith – that is 11 every hour.
Recent research has shown that there are certain countries where churches are at high risk of deliberate systematic destruction, as well as sporadic attacks through religious intolerance and terrorism. If you are a Christian and happen to live in one of those countries, chances are that you and your family will also be singled out for the destruction of your property, belongings, and even your lives.  These likely outcomes were derived from a recent Pew Research Center study which calculated the world’s top 34 countries with the most government destruction of religious property. In an article published in Christianity Today, Kate Tracy reports on this research in which other highlights derived were as follows:

• Three countries were found to have topped the church-destroying list with “100 or more” incidents: China, Russia, and Tajikistan.

• These were followed by another set of countries in the “10+ to 99” count category of churches destroyed. These were: Iran, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Azerbaijan, Syria, Pakistan, Angola, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan.

• There are another 21 countries listed in the “1 to 9” countries, including some of those notoriously and regularly covered in the press due to religious violence or intolerance, such as Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan and Egypt.

• Overall, government damage to religious property occurs most often in the Middle East and North Africa, while in the Asia-Pacific region, 16 of 60 countries had government infringement on their property.

• Between the months of November 2012 and March 2014, persecution watchdog Open Doors found that 3,641 churches and Christian properties were destroyed. The four hardest-hit countries: Nigeria (with 1,539 cases, Egypt (with 829 cases), Pakistan (with 217 cases), and Syria (with 207 cases). Syria and Egypt lined up in Pew’s second-tier ranking of countries with 10 to 99 cases of religious property damage, while Nigeria and Egypt were in Pew’s third-tier ranking, with one to nine cases reported.

• Colombia and Mexico—countries that don’t even rank among the top 50 worst places of persecution—have high rates of church property damage. Colombia had 177 cases and Mexico had 36 during the latest reporting period. Based on this finding, Ronald Boyd-MacMillan, chief strategy officer for Open Doors stated that this indicates that religious violence is more a product of state factions, rather than the overall state itself.

• The other countries rounding out Open Doors’ top 10 list for religious violence were the Central African Republic, India, Kenya, and Iraq, all with less than 100 incidents of Christian property destruction.

• China is also reportedly focusing on removing crosses, which are an integral symbol of Christianity, from as many churches as possible.

• As was recently reported by Christianity Today, Sudan recently reaffirmed its church-building ban as well as demolished a few existing ones. However, Sudan ranks low on Pew’s list, with only one to nine incidents of religious property damage. Another similar study was published in January and also referenced by Christianity Today. The study was based on the top 10 nations “where Christians faced the most pressure and violence,” according to the 2014 World Watch List (WWL) from Open Doors International, were North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Maldives, Pakistan, Iran, and Yemen (in that order)

. The countries that overlap these two lists – where the high risks of church destruction are matched with a similarly high risk of anti-Christian pressure and violence – are Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Pakistan.
Although persecution of Christians and the destruction of churches and attacks on missions and missionaries have always existed, it is emerging that Christians are the most persecuted people on earth. In a recent article published in The Independent , Paul Vallely writes: “Most people in the West would be surprised by the answer to the question: who are the most persecuted people in the world?
According to the International Society for Human Rights, a secular group with members in 38 states worldwide, 80 per cent of all acts of religious discrimination in the world today are directed at Christians…. The Centre for the Study of Global Christianity in the United States estimates that 100,000 Christians now die every year, targeted because of their faith – that is 11 every hour. The Pew Research Center says that hostility to religion reached a new high in 2012, when Christians faced some form of discrimination in 139 countries, almost three-quarters of the world’s nations.” So as disturbing as these statistics are, should anyone be surprised by them? Hardly – Jesus Christ Himself warned:

• Tajikistan ranks No. 45 among the 50 countries where it’s hardest to be a Christian, while China ranks No. 37 and Russia does not rank.

“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. (John 15: 18-21). In another scripture, Jesus addresses the same issues and statistical implications raised in these reports of the persecution of churches and Christians:

“These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them (John 16: 1-4). However there is no cause for dismay, as God promises His peace and victory to His servants no matter what they may face: These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world (John 16:33).



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