The persecution trap: vulnerable Christians are running out of allies

By John O'Sullivan 

The worldwide persecution of Christians is likely to intensify in the coming decades. Can anything be done to stop it?

Christianity is the largest faith in a world of thriving religions. It’s hard sometimes to feel that since the mental picture that grips most Westerners, including many Christians, is one of a dying faith in a disenchanted secular universe in which God is not so much dead as retired on a modest pension. Reality is very different. In 2015 the four largest (conventional) world religions were in descending order Christianity (31.2 per cent of the global population), Islam (24.1 per cent), Hinduism (16 per cent), and Buddhism (7 per cent). If we admit “without religion” as a category, that comes in third today with 16 per cent, a shade ahead of “without religion”. 
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Religious Freedom Expert  Nina Shea 

(Nina Shea is a Board Member of TAS)

 War On Christians Is Intensifying

Burkina Faso: The New Land of Islamic Jihad and Christian Slaughter

By Raymond Ibrahim

Last Sunday, May 12, in the small West African nation of Burkina Faso, as many as 30 armed Islamic terrorists stormed a Catholic church, slaughtered at least six Christian worshippers — including the officiating priest — then burned the church to the ground.   Ousmane Zongo, the mayor of Dablo, where the attack occurred, recalled the incident:   
"Towards 9:00am, during mass, armed individuals burst into the Catholic Church... They started firing as the congregation tried to flee.... They burned down the church, then shops and a small restaurant before going to the health centre where they searched the premises and set fire to the head nurse's vehicle.... The city is filled with panic. People are holed up at home. Shops and stores are closed. It's practically a ghost town." 
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Islam's War on the Christian Cross

By Raymond Ibrahim

A Muslim migrant in Rome recently stabbed a Christian man in the throat for wearing a crucifix around his neck.  The assailant, a 37-year-old Moroccan, is accused of attempted homicide; "religious hate" is cited as an "aggravating factor" in the crime.   
This is hardly the first "religious hate" crime to occur in the context of the cross in Italy.  Among others,.  
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Faith-Targeted Human Trafficking Highlights Need for Better Foreign Aid Policy

By The Arise Foundation 

In some parts of the world, minorities are at greater risk of exploitation. This is nothing new. From Uighurs in China to indigenous communities in the Amazon, ethnic and religious minorities have often found themselves targeted because they are different.   What is new, however, is the deliberate targeting of faith groups for bride trafficking. Six weeks ago, Arise received a report that adverts had appeared in parts of Pakistan like the one below.     Read More Here

Notre Dame isn’t the only French church imperiled this year

By Alessandra Nucci

On March 17, a month almost to the day before the great fire devastated Notre Dame Cathedral, another fire broke out in Paris’ second biggest church, Saint Sulpice, two subway stops away from Notre Dame, causing no injuries but resulting in damage that some sources estimate at €1 million. While investigators believe that the Notre Dame fire was caused by an electrical short-circuit, the blaze at Saint Sulpice was set deliberately, and it was not the first; as Catholic News Service reported on March 28, “more than 10 churches have been hit since the beginning of February, with some set on fire while others were severely desecrated or damaged.” But few news outlets, in Europe or the Americas, picked up the story, and the papers that did report it kept it low-key. Read More Here

Martyred for Her Faith in Sri Lanka

By Cardinal Timothy Dolan

Want to learn some Latin? Odium means“hatred of the Faith.”   In our Catholic tradition, one who loses his/her life because of odium fidei, hatred of the faith, is a martyr.  I just had the Funeral Mass of one such martyr at St. Joseph Parish in Somers. Her name is Chelsea Decaminada.   Chelsea was but twenty-six, and leaves behind grieving parents, a grandma, two brothers and a sister. In her brief life she sure made a lot of friends, and they were there too.For what was Chelsea martyred? Her “crime,” moving the fanatics to murder her, was this: she was at Sunday Mass.  She was in Sri Lanka, as a representative of our Commerce Department. Foreign service was to be her career, as she had also been overseas, in Africa, in the Peace Corps.     Read More Here

European Churches: Vandalized, Defecated On, and Torched "Every Day"

By Raymond Ibrahim

Countless churches throughout Western Europe are being vandalized, defecated on, and torched.   In France, two churches are desecrated every day on average. According to PI-News, a German news site, 1,063 attacks on Christian churches or symbols (crucifixes, icons, statues) were registered in France in 2018. This represents a 17% increase compared to the previous year (2017), when 878 attacks were registered — meaning that such attacks are only going from bad to worse.   Among some of the recent desecrations in France, the following took place in just February and March:... Read More Here

Insecurity in Nigeria: Eyewitnesses Speak

by The Heritage Foundation

A worthy watch - takes just about an hour to view

Annihilation of Christian Life and People: Where is the Outrage in the West? 

By Giulio Meotti

Where is the outrage in the West for the annihilation of Christian life and people? It feels as if there is no indignation, only silence, interrupted by bombs and "Allahu Akbar". The history books of the future will not condone this Western betrayal. If the West had taken seriously the persecutions of Christians, now the bell would not toll for the death of the Christian presence -- not only in historic lands of Christianity, but also for the West. Islamic extremists have seen that the West has not mobilized to prevent them from repressing Christians, as if unconsciously there were a strange convergence between our silence and the ethnic cleansing project of the Islamic State, aimed at erasing Christians.  Read More Here

US Warns: ‘Christians Most Persecuted Group’

By Stefan J Bos 

Leading U.S. lawmakers and government investigators suggest that Christians are now the world’s most persecuted religious group amid reports of mass killings and other attacks in China, Nigeria, Iran, and other nations.   They made the comments during a bipartisan hearing at the U.S. Congress in Washington D.C. hosted by Rep. Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican who co-chairs the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission along with Rep. Jim McGovern, a Massachusetts Democrat.   “Like many of you, the news that Christians in Sri Lanka were killed in a series of coordinated bombings on Easter Sunday saddened and sickened me,”   said Smith in comments obtained by BosNewsLife. “As shocking as such news was, I cannot say it was surprising.”  
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"There Is No Christian Anymore in This Town": Persecution of Christians, June 2019

By Raymond Ibrahim

"We cannot allow the Christians... to allege that Jesus is the Son of God," explained one mosque leader; "this [is] a serious blasphemy to Muslims." — Morning Star News, June 3, 2019, Uganda.

United States: A Muslim man from Syria, who in August 2016 was admitted into the U.S. as a "refugee," was "arrested on terrorism charges in relation to a plan to attack a church in Pittsburgh, according to the Justice Department," notes a report dated June 19:

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Christians abandoned by the liberal West

By Kathy Gyngell 

WE ARE a morally and intellectually changed society. We no longer care. And our silence is action when it comes to the appalling persecution of Christians across the world, from the Middle East to Nigeria to China. One reason is the ‘Christophobia’ that plagues the secular liberal West.  Yesterday at a central London conference entitled ‘Invisible Victims: Persecuted Believers and Western Governments’ this was the crux of Lord Alton’s argument. His detailed account of the worldwide extent of Christian torture and annihilation, not least that taking place in Nigeria, was a devastating indictment of the Government’s careless attitude, as well as of our society generally. He ended with that famous Dietrich Bonhoeffer quotation: ‘Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.’    Read More Here

Holiday Massacres of Christians: A New Fact of Life 

By Raymond Ibrahim

Although the Islamic terrorist bombings that rocked Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday -- killing more than 250 people, most in churches -- have shocked many, spectacular terrorist attacks on Easter are far more common than supposed.   Jihadi logic is simple: not only do attacks on Christians during their greatest holidays make a symbolic point; but because churches are often packed then -- especially Easter, or Resurrection Sunday -- they also potentially offer the greatest harvest in casualties.   Therefore, on April 9, 2017 -- Palm Sunday, which starts the holy week of Easter -- two Christian churches in Egypt were bombed during mass; at least 50 worshippers were murdered and 130 wounded (graphic images/video of aftermath here). Two days later, another terror attack, targeting a Coptic Christian monastery, was thwarted. On April 12, 2015, Easter Sunday, two explosions targeting two separate churches also took place in Egypt. Although no casualties were reported, large numbers could have resulted..  Read More Here

147 dead as Islamist gunmen target Christian students

By Mike Pflanz, Nairobi and Aislinn Laing

At least 147 people have been killed after Islamist terrorists attacked a Kenyan university, singling out Christian students to murder.  A five-man cell of the Somali-based al-Shabaab group stormed into halls of residence at Garissa University College, 200 miles east of the capital Nairobi, Thursday morning, shooting at students before taking others hostage.  
Kenya’s National Disaster Operation Centre declared the siege over by nightfall, with four terrorists killed and one arrested. 
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'Pure Genocide': Over 6,000 Nigerian Christians Slaughtered, Mostly Women and Children  

By Stoyan Zaimov, Christian Post 

Church leaders in Nigeria have said that Christians are experiencing “pure genocide” as 6,000 people, mostly women and children, have been murdered by Fulani radicals since January.   “What is happening in Plateau state and other select states in Nigeria is pure genocide and must be stopped immediately,” said the Christian Association of Nigeria and church denominational heads in Plateau State in a press release last week.  The church leaders said that “over 6,000 persons, mostly children, women and the aged have been maimed and killed in night raids by armed Fulani herdsmen,” which is prompting their cry to the government of Nigeria “to stop this senseless and blood shedding in the land and avoid a state of complete anarchy where the people are forced to defend themselves.”   Read More Here

Fire at Tallahassee’s Co-Cathedral of St. Thomas More adds to the growing list of attacks on churches

By John Burger 

Are incidents of church vandalism on the rise?   A fire at Co-Cathedral of St. Thomas More, a prominent church in Tallahassee, Florida, is being investigated, and it may be the latest example of what appear to be increasing attacks against Catholic churches in the United States.   “Today, there was a fire inside the Co-Cathedral church in Tallahassee,” Bishop William A. Wack Diocese of the Pensacola-Tallahassee Diocese said in a statement Thursday. “The cathedra [bishop’s chair] and presiders’ chairs were set on fire and are destroyed. The walls of the sanctuary are charred, and there is smoke damage. Thankfully, no one was hurt, and it went out before igniting the whole building. An investigation is underway.”     Read More Here

Burma’s Cardinal Charles Bo in “Reflections from the Periphery” doesn’t dodge the big challenges facing his own country or the rest of us.

Shared by Lord Alton of Liverpool

The Burmese Cardinal, Charles Bo,  has today published a letter entitled “God’s love for the people and Nations of Asia ..Reflections from the Periphery.”   In a troubled world this is a reflection that doesn’t dodge the big challenges facing his own country or the rest of us. But it offers peaceful ways forward and its respectful and hopeful message deserves to be widely read.  ..... 
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Boko Haram: Bloody Terror, No End in Sight

By Uzay Bulut

Boko Haram, the ISIS-aligned group seeking to establish an Islamic caliphate in Nigeria, just celebrated the 10th anniversary of its establishment. Contrary to initial and subsequent assessments, however, the terrorist group, also known as Islamic State's West Africa Province (ISWAP), was not to be easily defeated. On the contrary, every year, the jihadist group, which has gained a foothold in the neighboring African countries of Cameroon, Chad and Niger, appears to be growing stronger.

Suicide bombings and other deadly attacks committed by Boko Haram terrorists over the past decade have claimed the lives of tens of thousands of innocent people, while more than two million others have been displaced. These figures do not even include the thousands of women and children abducted, some of whom, according to the Counter Extremism Project (CEP), "have been forced to carry out suicide missions."   
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FBI: Syrian refugee arrested for allegedly planning to bomb Pittsburgh church in support of ISIS

By Rebecca Klar

A Pittsburgh resident was arrested Wednesday on terrorism charges after allegedly planning an attack on a Christian church in the name of ISIS, according to the Justice Department. Court documents and the FBI Pittsburgh Joint Terrorism Task Force investigation allege that Mustafa Mousab Alowemer, 21, plotted to bomb a church on Pittsburgh's North Side, according to Department of Justice (DOJ) officials.  
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Africa: Alarming Rise of Christian Persecution

By Uzay Bulut

According to a recent interim report published in the U.K., "it is estimated that one third of the world's population suffers from religious persecution in some form, with Christians being the most persecuted group."   According to the "overview" section of the interim "Independent Review of FCO support for Persecuted Christians": "In some regions, the level and nature of persecution is arguably coming close to meeting the international definition of genocide, according to that adopted by the UN."   Africa -- now home to the greatest number of Christians in the world -- is one such region.  
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Persecution of Christians is modern-day 'genocide' says report as Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt blames failure to confront the oppression of world's most targeted faith group on 'political correctness'

By Jack Doyle

Christians are 'by far the most persecuted' religious group and are enduring what amounts to genocide in some parts of the world, a report concluded.   They are being driven out of the Middle East in a modern-day exodus that means the religion could be wiped out in parts 'where its roots go back furthest', the study commissioned by the Foreign Office found.   And the report by the Bishop of Truro, the Right Rev Philip Mounstephen, found 'shocking' evidence that the persecution is worse today than ever. Read More Here

European human rights chiefs order the British press NOT to reveal when terrorists are Muslims in crackdown on freedom of speech

By  Matt Dathan

European human rights chiefs have told the British press it must not report when terrorists are Muslim.   The recommendations came as part of a list of 23 meddling demands to Theresa May’s government on how to run the media in an alarming  threat to freedom speech.   
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German Lawmakers Denounce Growing Islamic Violence Against Christian Minorities   

By Tyler Durden

German lawmakers across the spectrum on Tuesday called for stronger protections of Christian minorities worldwide following the coordinated attacks at several Sri Lanka churches and hotels on Sunday which killed over 300 people, according to Deutsche Welle. Members of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the liberal Free Democrats (FDP) and Greens all expressed their concern about what they saw as growing violence against Christians.   Germany's commissioner for religious freedom, Markus Grübel (CDU), told Die Welt newspaper that the Sri Lankan attacks were part of what appeared to be a global trend. -DW  Read More Here

Religious Restrictions, Intolerance on the Rise Worldwide 

By Clare Hillen

Government orchestrated restrictions on religion are on the rise globally, as is religious intolerance, according to a recent study by the Pew Research Center.   According to Pew's report, the number of countries that saw "high" and "very high" levels of government restrictions on religion rose from 50 in 2015 to 55 in 2016.   The rise of religious intolerance highlighted in that study, and what can be done about its unpleasant results, were the subject of a conference on Capitol Hill on Wednesday entitled "The Rise of Global Religious Intolerance: What Must the U.S. Do to Stem the Alarming Tide of Religious Intolerance at Both at Home and Abroad," which was sponsored by the Anglosphere Society and the Congressional Caucus on International Religious Freedom.   Read More Here

Parliamentary Debate on Religious Freedom following the publication of the Report of the Independent Inquiry into Persecution of Christians which concluded that the persecution of 250 million Christians comprises the, “most shocking abuses of human rights in the modern era”.

Shared by Lord Alton of Liverpool

My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Elton, has provided the House with this perfectly timed debate, coming as it does in the week in which the independent report to the Foreign Secretary concluded that the persecution of 250 million Christians comprises the,
“most shocking abuses of human rights in the modern era”.   Many others, believers and non-believers, suffer too. Jeremy Hunt is to be congratulated for commissioning the report, and Bishop Mounstephen, Bishop of Truro, and his admirable team on producing such robust, evidence-based findings. 
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Christian Persecution and Genocide Is Worse Now Than “Any Time In History,” Report Says

By Cristina Maza

The persecution and genocide of Christians across the world is worse today “than at any time in history,” and Western governments are failing to stop it, a report from a Catholic organization said.   The study by Aid to the Church in Need said the treatment of Christians has worsened substantially in the past two years compared with the two years prior, and has grown more violent than any other period in modern times.   Read More Here

Notre Dame fire was a warning bell. But will Europe listen?

By Raf Casert

PARIS - It’s a thin line where the patina of age on Europe’s countless monuments gives way to the onset of neglect. Like with so many loved ones, all is assumed to be fine, until suddenly it’s not.   In the wake of the fire last week that gutted Notre Dame, questions are being raised about the state of thousands of other cathedrals, palaces and village spires that have turned France - as well as Italy, Britain and Spain - into open air museums of Western civilization.   If even an iconic building like Notre Dame could not be protected from devastation, if such a potent symbol of France had to scramble for maintenance funds, that lays bare a culture of apathy that can undermine a shared history as well as the multibillion-dollar tourism industry upon which much of Europe depends.   Read More Here

Strengthening the ties between the United States, United Kingdom, and the English speaking world.

The Burning of Notre Dame and the Destruction of Christian Europe

By Guy Millière

The fire that destroyed much of the Notre Dame Cathedral in the heart of Paris is a tragedy that is irreparable. Even if the cathedral is rebuilt, it will never be what it was before. Stained glass windows and major architectural elements have been severely damaged and the oak frame totally destroyed. The spire that rose from the cathedral was a unique piece of art. It was drawn by the architect who restored the edifice in the nineteenth century, Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, who had based his work on 12th century documents.   

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U.K. to defend persecuted Christians throughout world

By  Simon Caldwell

MANCHESTER, England -- A top British official said the government would commit itself to a robust defense of persecuted Christians following a new report into their plight.   
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said in a July 8 news conference in London that the report will lead to a "sea change in our approach" to the global persecution of Christians.   "We are working across government to agree (on) a formal collective response as soon as possible," said Hunt, who along with Boris Johnson is one of two candidates competing to be the next U.K. prime minister. Read More Here

Genocide of Christians Reaches "Alarming Stage"

By Raymond Ibrahim

"Christian persecution 'at near genocide levels,'" the title of a May 3 BBC report, cites a lengthy interim study ordered by British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and led by Rev. Philip Mounstephen, the Bishop of Truro.  According to the BBC report, one in three people around the world suffer from religious persecution, with Christians being "the most persecuted religious group". "Religion 'is at risk of disappearing' in some parts of the world," it noted, and "In some regions, the level and nature of persecution is arguably coming close to meeting the international definition of genocide, according to that adopted by the UN."  Read More Here