Frances Martel of Breitbart News outlined 6 countriesÂ that aren’t going to be able to practiceÂ Easter freely due to government infringementÂ or lack of governmentÂ protection.
China has experienced a Christian population boom so great that some estimatesÂ suggestÂ it could become home to the worldâ€™s largest Christian population in decades. The total number of Christians in China today couldÂ exceedÂ 100 million, more than the total number of members of the Chinese Communist Party. There is no concrete count of the number of Christians in the country largely because of state repression â€“ while legal Christian churches exist, they are tightly regulated by the communist regime of leader Xi Jinping and, thus, unpopular.
Xi Jinping has led a systematic crackdown on â€œunauthorizedâ€ Christianity that has worsened year after year since he became â€œpresidentâ€ in 2013. Xi has led a movement to â€œsinicizeâ€ Christianity, forcing the legal Christian churches to deliver sermons extolling the virtues of his regime. â€œUnauthorizedâ€ Christianity is deemed a â€œnational security threat,â€ and Christians who dare worship in their homes face severe law enforcement reprimand.
Late last year, the Chinese Communist Party beganÂ forcingÂ rural Christians to replace crosses in their homes with photos of Xi Jinping. Demolitions of churches andÂ arrestsÂ of dissident Christians, particularly any involved in human rights activism, are common. In one of the most recent incidents documented, the advocacy groupÂ China AidÂ reported that local authorities in Henan began â€œgoing door-to-door, forbidding all meetings of Christian citizens and disbanding house church groups.â€
Venezuela is a predominantly Catholic nation whose socialist leaders claim to be devotees of the faith, so it represents a bit of a blind spot for advocates for persecuted Christians. Its presence on this list, however, is largely a product of the fact that the government claims a stranglehold on interpreting Christianity that has led to violence and intimidation against Catholic clergy in the South American country.
Dictator NicolÃ¡s Maduro and his subordinates have struggled for years to submit the Christian faith to their whims â€“ publishingÂ socialist Christmas carols,Â identifyingÂ their policies with the Gospels, and proclaiming that â€œChrist is Chavista.â€
Yet Christians in Venezuela who oppose the regime are not free to practice. The Catholic leadership of the country hasÂ vocally calledÂ for Maduro to step down and return the nation to democratic republican rule. In response,Â chavistaÂ gangs haveÂ attackedÂ churches, threatened priests,Â forcedÂ Mass attendees to listen to socialist rants instead of their weekly sermon, and left many churchesÂ lootedÂ andÂ desecrated.
Socialist mismanagement of the economy has also affected worship nationwide. Thanks to a bread shortage fueled by outsized inflation and price controls, many of Venezuelaâ€™s churches will not haveÂ Eucharist wafersÂ to share with congregants this Easter.
In India, the repression faced by many Christians is not at the hands of the government, but at the hands of violent Hindu nationalist mobs. According to Open Doors, an organization that tracks the persecution of the Christian faithful worldwide, the permissive attitude of a Hindu nationalist government hasÂ allowedÂ for the exacerbation of violence against these communities, some of the oldest Christian congregations on earth.
In one incident this year, a mobÂ tortured and hangedÂ a Christian pastor after six months of loudly disturbing Sunday services. Local police ruled the death a suicide, triggering thousands to protest for justice. Local protestors said police were afraid to prosecute individuals believed to be involved in the death because â€œif the four [suspects] are arrested, 10,000 will come out on the streets and there will be communal violence.â€
In another incident last year, a woman who married a Christian wasÂ kidnapped and torturedÂ by members of a â€œyoga centerâ€ repeatedly accused of threatening women out of conversions out of Hinduism.
In 2016, a mob estimated to contain 60 Hindu nationalistsÂ beatÂ two Christian pastors and others at their church with cricket bats and forced them into a police station to file charges against the Christians for allegedly proselytizing. Radicals often cite local laws against proselytizing or converting to another religion to influence police intoÂ arrestingÂ Christians.
A major escalation in the number of such incidents occurred in 2016; according to outside observers, 30 violent episodes against ChristiansÂ occurredÂ in January and February 2016 alone.
Nigeriaâ€™s population isÂ 40 percentÂ Christian, with many practicing freely in the nationâ€™s south. In the north, however, Christians face severe persecution from jihadist groups like Boko HaramÂ and violence by the majority-Muslim Fulani herdsmenÂ againstÂ Christian farmers. The herdsmen areÂ believedÂ to be conducting raids targeting Christians and have killed an estimated thousands of civilians.
Boko Haram makes its home in Borno state, the furthest northeast territory in the country, where they routinely attack Christian villages and abduct Christian girls and women by the hundreds.
Boko Haram typically abduct Christian girls and women and force them to convert to Islam, â€œmarryâ€ their jihadist members, and serve as sex slaves and cooks. Some younger girls are used asÂ suicide bombers, as they are considered less of a threat by civilian merchants and clergy who control the main targets of Boko Haram attacks.
Most recently, Boko Haram abducted over one hundred girls from a school in Dapchi, Yobe state, bordering Borno to the west. They returned all girls to their parents except for one â€“ Leah Sharibu, whoÂ refusedÂ to denounce her Christian faith.
Sudan, a nation run by Muslim tyrantÂ wanted for genocide, is one of the most repressive states in the world, a Muslim-majority tyranny where Christians face destruction of property and arbitrary arrest if they are too visible. Open DoorsÂ ranksÂ Sudanese Christians in the top five most persecuted Christian nationalities in the world.
Christians face legal repercussions for converting from Islam,Â opposingÂ the destruction of their churches, and attempting anyÂ journalismÂ about Christian populations there. According toÂ Open Doors, â€œsome Christians are arrested on charges of espionage, and many churches have been demolished, with others on an official list awaiting demolition.â€
Apostacy, or the abandonment of Islam, is a crime in Sudan, and many Christians can be persecuted for this crime even if they were never Muslim. The most prominent such case was that of Meriam Yahya Ibrahim, arrested for â€œapostasyâ€ while pregnant andÂ forcedÂ to give birth in prison because her father, who she never knew, was Muslim and she had married a Christian man. Despite being raised as a lifelong Christian, Ibrahim was arrested for leaving Islam, released only after intense international pressure from human rights groups.
Indonesian Christians are under growing public scrutiny. While Christians have long coexisted in the worldâ€™s most populous Islamic country, they have increasingly fallen victim to radical Islamic mobs. A report in March found that Christians accused of violations of Sharia, the law of Islam, areÂ agreeingÂ in larger numbers to accept Sharia punishments, like public caning, in order to avoid an expensive legal procedure against them. Sharia bans â€œcrimesâ€ such as eatingÂ haramÂ food and â€œblasphemy,â€ which Christians can easily fall victim to accusations of.
The government in Indonesia, concerned about potential violence, is often responsive to radical demands from Islamic groups, such as growing calls for aÂ banÂ on selling alcohol, bans on publicÂ Christmas decorations, and prosecuting those accused of blasphemy. In one high-profile case, the formerÂ governor of Jakarta, an ethnic Chinese Christian, was convicted of blasphemy for warning against radical clerics who use the Quran to manipulate voters.
These stories are ones that are never expressed. The Mainstream Media loves to talk about Islamaphobia and the supposed ‘right-wing’ Neo Nazi’s but never talks about the Christians being attacked worldwide. As we reported there are more Christians being stopped from exercising their faith than any other religion worldwide.