By Stefan J, Bos, Chief Internationalk Correspondent BosNewsLife
LONDON/BUDAPEST (BosNewsLife) — An influential Catholic charity and advocacy group warns in a new report that Christianity may be “eradicated” in several nations as persecution of Christians has worsened over the last two years in countries such as China, Indonesia, Iraq, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Sudan and Syria.
Aid to the Church in Need UK (ACN) made the warning while presenting its new report ‘Persecuted and Forgotten? A Report on Christians oppressed for their faith 2013 – 2015.’ “These are countries which saw a massive deterioration of the position for Christians and indeed other minorities,” added the report’s co-author John Pontifex in an interview.
“In fact the number of countries which were seen to be extreme in terms of persecution of Christians rose from six to 10 within this time frame of the last two years,” he said.
Pontifex stressed that believers around the world were forced to flee due to “religiously motivated cleansing of Christians.” In Iraq alone, Christianity may “disappear within 5 years”, Pontifex warned. .
The number of known Christians living in Iraq already declined from some 1.2 million before 2003 and the fall of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, to 200,000 now with many expected to flee for groups such as Islamic State,he explained. Pontifex said in Iraq and Syria Christians are killed if they don’t convert to Islam. “There have been concentrated and systematic attacks against those who don’t conform with extreme Islamic State principles.”
CHRISTIAN HOSTAGES KILLED
ACN said the situation in Iraq is especially difficult in the Nineveh area and in and around the city of Mosul. Pontifex warned that the Christians “face eradication in parts of the Middle East, ”
the birthplace of Christianity.
Similar fears have been expressed over Africa. In Nigeria, for instance, “We show that Christians in large numbers were expelled from the northeast along with other moderate Muslim groups,” Pontifex said.
Besides North Korea, where hundreds of thousands of Christians and others have been put in prison camps, the situation has also worsened in China and India, he said.
“If you look in India, extremist [Hindu] groups have been putting pressure on Christians, by targeting churches and attacks in other ways, making it very difficult for them to live out their faith.”
SEVERE PERSECUTION REPORTED
The ACN report, which assesses the situation of 20 countries where persecution is seemed most severe, was presented this week in the surroundings of the upper house of Britain’s Parliament, the House of Lords. “This report serves as a voice for the voiceless, from their prison cells and the places far from home where they have sought refuge,” said British Prine Minister David Cameron in reported remarks.,
During Tuesday’s launch witnesses of persecution also gave testimony, including a teenager, Victoria Youhanna, who escaped Boko Haram militants in northern Nigeria, and Timothy who has said he experienced persecution in North Korea.
Another witness testimony came from Archbishop Jean-Clement Jeanbart of Aleppo, in northern Syria, who wrote the Foreword to the report saying his Diocese of Aleppo was “on the front-line” of suffering.
“My own cathedral has been bombed six times and is now unusable. My home has also been hit more than 10 times. We are facing the rage of an extremist jihad; we may disappear soon,” he said.
“In both Syria and Iraq, Christian communities—along with other vulnerable minorities — are defenceless against assaults by Daesh” the other words for Islamic State, the bishop explained.
CHRISTIANS “PRIME TARGET”
“We are the prime target of the so-called caliphate’s religious cleansing campaign. Across the region, Christians and other minorities are often caught up in the fighting, facing calamities as they are displaced, with scant provisions for shelter, food, and medical assistance. Truly we are “reckoned as sheep for the slaughter.”
However, he said, there was still hope. “[But] despite our problems here in the Middle East, we are doing everything we can to help those who lack food, clothes, or other essentials. By God’s grace, and with the continuing help of organisations including Aid to the Church in Need, we have been able to respond to the urgent needs of our people.”
The group said that in Britain, free copies would be made available in Saturday, October 17, at 10.30am at Westminster Cathedral, where several speakers will talk about their experiences of living through anti-Christian violence.
Other events around the report’s launch included meetings to be held Thursday October 15 at 7pm local time at the Cathedral Church of St Mary of the Assumption.
“This report is a desperate plea of the Christian communities themselves,” to the “Church and wider society” he said. “If we don’t speak out…Christianity will lose its global reach.”
Why people are ready to suffer for Christ? Want to know more what they believe? Click here
(BosNewsLife (2004-2015) is the first truly independent news agency covering persecuted Christians. It has been ‘Breaking the News for Compassionate Professionals’ since May 2004. Please help BosNewsLife to remain a voice of the voiceless. Click here for a subscription).
Visit BosNewsLife’s Link Partners:
http://www.thejerusalemgiftshop.com/ Visit them at these strategic times and support believers in Israel.
http://www.religiousfreedomcoalition.org Raising its voice for religious freedom. Every day.
http://christmasforrefugees.org/ A real Christmas for Syrian and Iraqi children refugees.