Christians are still the most persecuted…


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Christians make up about 30% of the world’s population, but a large proportion of them are at best second-class citizens in their respective countries. As every year, the Open Doors foundation publishes an overview of the top 50 countries where Christians are most persecuted. But by whom are they oppressed and why are they so often persecuted?

Something new under the sun

Since 1993, the Dutch foundation Open Doors has annually mapped the top 50 countries where Christians are most persecuted. On the basis of six criteria, such as the degree of religious freedom and violence, the foundation assesses the situation of Christians per country. There have been many changes in the last thirty years. The political situation in a country plays a big role. Secular-totalitarian, Islamic and politically unstable countries dominate the list. This is not a new phenomenon. From the very beginning, the Church has been surrounded by enemies eager to silence it.

Read also: Henk Rijkers at Ongehoord Nieuws: “Too little attention to Christian persecution”

From persecuted ‘Jewish sect’ to state religion

The first three centuries of Christianity were characterized by almost constant persecution from Jewish and later especially Roman authorities. Under emperors such as Nero (64-68), Domitian (81-96), Hadrian (117-138) and Diocletian (284-305), Christians were often the targets of terrible persecution. Despite this, Christianity grew steadily, especially in the lower strata of the population. After the conversion of Emperor Constantine I (312), the hitherto marginalized church gained the status of a legal religion, and soon after became the state religion of the Roman Empire.

From Rome to the ends of the earth

Because a large part of Europe was part of this empire, this religion quickly spread throughout Europe. This Christian continent was the starting point for missionaries and missionaries to spread Christianity all over the world, later also from North America. As a result, Christianity grew into a world religion. Today, Christianity is still the largest religion in the world with its 2.4 billion adherents.

Violent Islamic expansionism

The reason why Europe and not the Middle East – the birthplace of Christianity – has been such a launching pad is because of the rise of Islam. Not long after the rise of Islam in the seventh century, the Caliphate declared war on Christianity. Because of their often violent expansionism, Islam quickly conquered an area that stretched from Spain to India. The Christians who had lived there for centuries were often killed, exiled, sold into slavery, forced to convert, or treated as second-class citizens.

Islam and the suicide of the West

Growing hatred of the West

Despite this difficult existence, a fifth of the population of the Middle East about a hundred years ago were Christians. After World War II, this changed. The victory of the Allies over the Nazi ideology – which could count on much sympathy in the Arab world – brought the West and the Islamic world once again into conflict. An important factor was Israel’s declaration of independence in 1948, which – because of the deep-rooted anti-Semitism in Islam – provoked a growing hatred of the Western world.

Open doors 2023

Growing hatred of Christians

Christians in Islamic countries were often viewed as collaborators by their countrymen. As a result, they increasingly became targets of violence and persecution. Islamic terrorist organizations mushroomed. In August 2013 alone, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt carried out attacks on 80 churches, resulting in many deaths. Christians were especially targeted by jihadists around Christmas and Easter. Many were forced to flee because of this. As a result, over the past hundred years, the number of Christians in the Middle East has dropped dramatically from 20% to about 4%.

The Christian West is also no longer safe from Islamic violence

Since 9/11, this battle has gained momentum. Terrorist Islamic organizations and regimes declared open war against the Christian West. The fact that there is nothing felt about our Christian civilization due to the secularization in the Netherlands and other European countries does not change the fact that we are still considered Christians by them. Large terrorist organizations such as the Taliban, the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda could count on radicalized infiltrators – a number of whom were taken in by the Netherlands as ‘refugees’. These carried out their bloody missions to disrupt our Christian civilization and culture. This week, the head of security for the Islamic State was allegedly arrested in Arkel. This Syrian, who is suspected of actively collaborating in war crimes, applied for asylum in the Netherlands in 2019.

Stop mass immigration.  Stop drying with the tap open!

Europe ravaged by terrorists

In 2004, Madrid was rocked by a horrific attack on several trains that left 193 dead. In the same year Holland was shocked by the attack on Islam critic Theo van Gogh. A year later, the London Underground network was the target of Islamic terrorism, killing 52 people. Since then, many attacks have been thwarted. From 2015, violence flared up again (see table below) with the attack on the Bataclan theater in Paris, the attack in Nice and at a Christmas market in Berlin (2016), the attack at a concert in Manchester (2017), and many attacks thereafter. In 2019, the Netherlands was shocked by a terrorist attack on a tram in Utrecht that killed four people.

Islamic attacks in the EU

Communist countries are also high on the list

But punctually number 1 on the Open Doors list has been North Korea for years. This glorified concentration camp led by Kim Jong-Un has a totalitarian regime. Any form of resistance or contradiction is mercilessly punished in the various ‘re-education camps’. Christians seems to be the hardest to deal with here. It is estimated that between 50% and 60% of the inmates in North Korea’s state prisons are Christians. The communist crooked state of Cuba is again high on the list.

Increasing recognition

For years, Open Doors preached mainly to his own parish. Recently, however, there has been some political interest. A few days ago, Foreign Minister Hoekstra received the Christian Persecution Ranking 2023. He hopes that “at some point this list will no longer be necessary.” His predecessor, Minister Kaag, saw this as less of a priority. Halfway through 2021, she said she saw nothing in the way of special attention for persecuted Christians. This is still necessary until now: 360 million Christians (one in seven) are persecuted today, a record number. Nevertheless, the number of Christians continues to grow in absolute terms, despite the low birth rate in Western countries. Christianity grows especially in countries where Christians are most persecuted and killed. As the church father Tertullian said, “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.”

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