Eight Countries Where It's Scary To Be A Christian

Christianity

Photo: Flickr/sufw

Citing the increase in discrimination against Christians in politically tumultuous countries like Egypt and Syria, politicians in Washington have been raising the alarm this year about a rising global tide of anti-Christian bias.But where exactly does that bias exist? And how is it manifested?

We turned to the State Department’s annual International Religious Freedom Report for some answers. The report, the latest edition of which was released Monday, focuses on governmental actions, sectarian and government-led violence, and governmental policies that violate the religious practices of certain beliefs, denominations, and individuals. 

Going off of that report, we’ve compiled a list of countries where violence, discrimination, and persecution against Christians is most egregious. 

Egypt

In October of 2011, Coptic Christians (the official name of the Christian minority in Egypt) were demonstrating outside an Egyptian radio and television office in Cairo when government security forces attacked and killed 25 people, injuring another 350.

So far, no one has been held accountable for the attacks.

Source: State Department

Iraq

Considering the amount of sectarian violence that has plagued Iraq over the past decade, this should come as no surprise. Sectarian violence between Sunni and Shia Muslims led to corruption, targeted attacks, and in general, an uneven enforcement of the law.

Iraq's Christian minority have been one of many religious groups affected by the violence, which has led to a marked emigration of non-Muslims from the country.

Source: State Department

Nigeria

Boko Haram, the Nigerian jihadist terrorist organisation, carried out many deadly attacks on both Christians and Muslims last year, and the Nigerian government failed to prosecute or even investigate most incidents.

Abuse of religious freedom by local governments in Nigeria has also been reported.

Source: State Department

Iran

Imprisonment, intimidation, harassment, and discrimination by the government because of religious beliefs are a common thread among reports out of Iran.

In 2011, Christian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani faced the possibility of execution while being held in prison for practicing his faith openly.

But Christians are not the only religion persecuted in Iran -- basically all non-Shia religious groups face some discrimination by the government.

Source: State Department

Saudi Arabia

Given the fact that Saudi Arabia doesn't recognise freedom of religion and only allows for the practice of Islam, Christians don't have much freedom -- or presence -- in the country.

Many Arabic and religious textbooks in Saudi Arabia include intolerant writings against Christians and Jews.

Source: State Department

Sudan

While some religious freedoms have been increased under Sudan's temporary constitution, blasphemy, interfaith marriages, and conversion from Islam are still illegal. As the number of Salafists increase, conflict between the Salafists and non-Salafist religious groups, including Sudan's Christian minority, is growing.

Source: State Department

Syria

Churches across the country have been destroyed as the government forces continued to label the opposition as extremists. While the majority of sectarian violence has been among Muslim communities in Syria, minority factions including Christians have become increasingly vulnerable to violence as well.

Source: State Department

Vietnam

Chrisitans faced the brunt of religious persecution in Vietnam in 2011.

Many churches were still waiting to be formally registered in the Northern Highlands, while the Bible was still not allowed to be translated and published in the H'mong language.

Christian pastors Ksor Y Du and Kpa Y Ko have also been held as prisoners and are facing possible execution.

Source: State Department

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