By BosNewsLife Senior Special Correspondents Johan Th. Bos and Eric Leijenaar reporting from the Netherlands
AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS (BosNewsLife)-- There is growing opposition towards devoted Christians in the Netherlands, according to a poll published by a leading Dutch evangelical newspaper.
Uitdaging/MV ('Challenge/MV') monthly, a news partner of BosNewsLife in the Netherlands and Belgium, said 64 percent of its readers answered "yes" when asked whether they had experienced "more intolerance towards Christians." Some 36 percent said "no".
Ten years ago, in 2001, the opposite was true with only 36 percent of readers saying "yes" and 64 percent answering "no", the newspaper said.
The poll comes after a turbulent decade when devoted Dutch Christians complained of harassment at work, including ticket controller Mickel Aziz who was recently told by a court he could no longer wear a cross over his uniform while working his shift on an Amsterdam tram.
There have also been reports of death threats against Christian converts with a Muslim background in a country still reeling from the 2004 assassination of Theodoor "Theo" van Gogh, a controversial film maker who criticized Islam.
The Netherlands is no exception, with rights groups warning that Christians will also face persecution in Western countries ranging from the United States to the Netherlands.
Church leaders say the Bible has predicted persecution and that following Jesus Christ comes with a price.
So far, reports of persecution of Christians have come mainly from the Middle East, Asia, Africa, the former Soviet Union and its ex-satellite states.