Persecution Against Christians Rose Rapidly in 2023

Source: FSSPX News

One in seven Christians--that is 365 million people--were exposed to elevated levels of persecution and discrimination because of their Faith, according to the latest World Watch List from Open Doors.

This number has not stopped growing over the last five years, with an increase of some five million believers persecuted last year alone.

Africa Is the Most Affected

In sub-Saharan Africa, violence is on the rise: 90% of the 5,000 Christians killed worldwide were living in this continent. The anti-Christian forces are diverse.

Islamic extremists take advantage of regional instability, especially in countries like Mali, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Mozambique, and Somalia.

The influence of China and Russia also constitute a threat, by strengthening potentially persecutory governments’ capacity to control. African governments spend 1.55 billion dollars on surveillance technologies, mainly purchased from China, which can be used against Christian populations with the aim of persecution.

The Russian mercenary Wagner Group launched incursions into certain parts of Africa in an attempt to control regions and manipulate raw materials markets. Open Doors researchers fear that Christians are being caught in the crosshairs, and they highlight the lack of concern, bordering on contempt, for civilians.

In this part of Africa, in 2023, attacks against churches, Christian schools, and hospitals increased sevenfold: they went from 2,110 in 2022 to 14,766 in 2023; and attacks against Christian homes also rose by 371%.

In the Middle East and North Africa, Christians are faced with challenges that have become all too familiar: conflicts, pressure from Islamic majorities, the influence of extremists, and economic collapse.

Some Positive Results

Despite this bleak picture, the Open Doors report also mentions positive developments.

In Mali, modifications to the constitution were approved, including recognition of the Christian minority.

In the Indian State of Karnataka, the victory of the Congress party promises a revision or withdrawal of anti-conversion laws.

In Sri Lanka, training church members to defend their rights helped prevent church closures.