By BosNewsLife News Center
WASHINGTON DC, USA (BosNewsLife)– An influential United States-based Christian rights groups has warned of increased persecution of Christians in “many Islamic countries” and said that even in India, often described as the world’s “largest democracy”, believers faced the worst violence in recent years.
The Hall of Shame report of International Christian Concern (ICC), with Website www.persecution.org , also highlights “the massive effort undertaken by the Chinese government to silence underground church activities during the 2008 Olympics.”
The ICC said in a statement monitored Saturday, February 7, that it ranked the “world’s worst persecutors for 2008” as North Korea, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, India, China, Pakistan, Iran, Eritrea, and Vietnam. They were also given the questionable honor of receiving the ICC’s ‘Hall of Shame Awards’.
While Communist-run North Korea has consistently been mentioned as the world’s “worst” known persecutor of Christians, with thousands detained in concentration camps, India’s high ranking (at number five) was seen as an indication of growing pressure on the Christian minority in that mainly Hindu nation of 1.2 billion people.
ICC said that in 2008, Christians experienced the “worst anti-Christian violence” in recent memory, which began in the state of Orissa in August. Dozens of people were killed, but the group warned the tensions had “yet to be resolved.”
The violence followed the killing of a Hindu nationalist leader and several associates. Authorities blamed a Maoist rebel group, but Hindu hardliners said Christians were responsible for the killings.
ICC said its report “is an attempt to compile and analyze news reports from the ten countries where Christian persecution has been most severe” in 2008.
“This report reminds us of the need for constant vigilance in the struggle to defend the fundamental human right of religious freedom,” explained ICC’s Advocacy Director, Jeremy Sewall. “It is especially overwhelming to consider that this report only reveals the tip of the iceberg. Instead of allowing religious persecution to be swept under the rug, we call on journalists and all concerned individuals to help shine the light on persecution in 2009.”
Christian advocacy groups estimate that at least 200 million Christians face severe persecution for their faith while an additional four hundred million apparently suffer from discrimination and legal impediments worldwide.