Magazine article The Christian Century

Persecuted

Magazine article The Christian Century

Persecuted

Article excerpt

In Eritrea, one of the earliest Christian countries in the world, a military compound has been turned into a prison complex housing 2,000 to 3,000 Christians. They are imprisoned because they are part of a small independent Protestant community that is not approved by the government.

Eritrea is far from the only place where Christians are suffering for their faith. According to the International Society for Human Rights, 80 percent of all acts of religious discrimination in the world are directed toward Christians. John L. Allen Jr., author of The Global War on Christians: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Anti-Christian Persecution, says that the global war on Christians is the greatest story not being told in the 21st century. By one estimate, as many as 11 Christians are killed each hour somewhere in the world. The Pew Forum reported that, between 2006 and 2010, Christians faced some form of discrimination in 139 countries--close to three-fourths of all the nations of the world.

Of the 65 churches in Baghdad, 40 have been bombed since the United States' invasion of Iraq in 2003. Iraq had a flourishing Christian community of about 1.5 million at the start of the war; now it is a third that size. In Egypt, 40 Coptic churches were burned and looted in August in a wave of attacks blamed on radical Islamists. In September a suicide bomber attacked a church in northwestern Pakistan, killing 85 people. Living under strict antiblasphemy laws, Christians throughout the country are being accused of blasphemy because of their Christian convictions. …

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