Persecution of Christians

Qaraqosh Shows Pope Francis the Wounds of Three Years of Persecution

The symbolic magnitude of Pope Francis visiting the city of Qaraqosh, a thriving majority Christian city that suffered the heavy brunt of Daesh persecution and genocide from 2014 to 2016.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom is a U.S. federal government commission created by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998. USCIRF is independent, bipartisan, the first of its kind in the world, dedicated to defending the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad. USCIRF reviews the facts and circumstances of religious freedom violations and makes policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress. USCIRF Commissioners are appointed by the President and the Congressional leadership of both political parties.

The Persecution and Genocide of Christians in the Middle East: Prevention, Prohibition, & Prosecution
by Jane F. Adolphe and Ronald J. Rychlak
In summer 2014, ISIS waged a bloody blitz through Iraq’s Nineveh province, crucifying, beheading, raping, torturing, forcibly converting to Islam, and driving out every member of the region’s 2000-year-old Christian community. Christian girls, as young as three, were sold at ISIS sex slave markets in Mosul. Ancient churches were burned and ISIS attacked dozens of Christian towns in Syria. The beheading in 2015 of 21 Egyptian Copts was videotaped by ISIS and became a searing, iconic symbol of this wave of persecution that threatens to eradicate Christianity in the Middle East. Many in the West, even Christians, remain unaware of the scale of this persecution, and even fewer know what can be done about it.
Inspired by Pope Francis’s denunciation of these acts as “genocide,” a group of Catholic legal scholars, writers, and theologians began work on The Persecution and Genocide of Christians in the Middle East. Its case studies focus on persecuted Christians, but its analysis equally applies to the other victims. In the United States, military and diplomatic responses are contemplated and sometimes undertaken. But what about the legal system? Are there things we can or should be trying? That question animates this book as it explores various facets of religious persecution, examining ISIS’s ideology and their relationship to Islam as practiced by most Muslims, as well as exploring the nature of religious freedom. Practical, relevant, and rich in ideas, this book addresses the most crucial religious freedom issue of our day. It is a primer for Christians, students of international human rights, and all concerned about religious persecution. Available from Angelico Press

Countdown to Death of Christianity in Parts of Middle East Ticking ever Louder

October 23, 2019: Aid to the Church in Need released a press release titled “Countdown to death of Christianity in parts of Middle East ticking ever louder” The release highlights the 2019 Persecuted and Forgotten? report, which warns of Christianity vanishing from towns and cities in the region – despite the defeat of Daesh (ISIS) and that unless the international community provides effective security and aid, another eruption of Islamist persecution could result in the complete disappearance of the Church in threatened countries. here are some highlights:

  • In Iraq the number of Christians has declined of up to 90 percent within a generation.
  • In Syria Christian numbers have fallen by two thirds since the conflict began in 2011.
  • The report warns that the Church in the region could vanish if radical Islamists were to mount another attack on vulnerable communities.
  • The report also found that the persecution of Christians has worsened the most in South and East Asia.
  • In a number of African countries Christians were threatened by Islamists or the state seeking to eliminate the Church.

The report can be consulted at

Aid to the Church in Need’s Religious Freedom in The World 2021 Report

Aid to the Church in Need’s (ACN) Religious Freedom in the World Report is ACN’s principal research project, and has evolved considerably over the years, from being a small booklet to becoming a publication of approximately 800 pages, produced by a world-wide team. This evolution is due to the fact that today discrimination and persecution on the grounds of religious belief is a growing global phenomenon. Behind the violent conflicts, whether in Syria, Yemen, Nigeria, the Central African Republic or Mozambique – to mention only a few countries – are those in the shadows who, manipulating the deepest convictions of humanity, have instrumentalised religion in the search for power.

Aid to the Church in Need’s Religious Freedom in the World 2018 Report

Examining the two-year period up to and including June 2018, this report assesses the religious situation of every country in the world. Recognizing that religious liberty cannot be adequately assessed in isolation, the country reports critique the often intricate relationship between matters of religion and other related factors – for example politics, economy, education (see Backgrounder – Not only a religious issue). 196 nations have been examined with a special focus in each case on the place of religious freedom in constitutional and other statutory documents, incidents of note and finally a projection of likely trends. From these reports, the countries have been categorised (see the table which appears on page 36-39). The table focuses on countries where violations against religious freedom go beyond comparatively mild forms of intolerance to represent a fundamental breach of human rights.

The countries where these grave violations occur have been placed into two categories – ‘Discrimination’ and ‘Persecution’. (For a full definition of both categories, visit In these cases of discrimination and persecution, the victims typically have little or no recourse to law.

ChinaAid’s Annual Persecution Report 2020
China Aid Association released its 2020 Annual Persecution Report documenting the last year in state-mandated religious persecution of Chinese Christians.
    The report covering January-December 2020 points to an ongoing escalation of harassment of Christians by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Under the direction of President Xi Jinping, Chinese officials carried out the third year of its “Five-Year Plan for the Sinicization of Christianity.” The complete report may be read here with the summary of the key findings here.

Open Doors World Watch List 2023

For over 60 years, Open Doors has worked in the world’s most oppressive countries, empowering Christians who are persecuted for their beliefs. Open Doors equips persecuted Christians in more than 60 countries through programs like Bible & Gospel Development, Women & Children Advancement and Christian Community Restoration.

World Watch List 2023Watch on YouTube
World Watch List 2020Download the Report
World Watch List 2019Download the Report