Study Documents Rise in Christian Persecution
Christ followers across the globe face harassment
Christians remain the most widely persecuted religious group around the world, and the number of countries in which they face harassment has reached a record high, according to a new report from Pew Research Center.
Christians experienced harassment in 144 of 198 countries considered during 2016, the most since Pew began collecting annual data in 2007. This is a notable increase from 2015 (128 countries) and a significant jump since 2008 (95 countries).
Christians have consistently been the most widely persecuted religious group over the decade-long study.
According to Pew, the figure represents “the number of countries in which groups were harassed, either by government or individuals/social groups. It does not assess the severity of the harassment.”
In addition, government intolerance of religion increased globally — with 28 percent of countries placing “high” or “very high” restrictions on religion, compared to 25 percent in 2015 and 20 percent in 2007.
The share of countries with “high” or “very high” social hostilities toward religion remained unchanged from 2015 to 2016, at 27 percent. This was up from 20 percent in 2007.
Christians have consistently been the most widely persecuted religious group over the decade-long study, followed by Muslims and Jews.
In Matthew 24:9, Jesus spoke of the persecution of Christians around the world as a sign of the end times: “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.”
Nevertheless, Christ promised that, “this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations … ” (verse 14).