According to a report by the Center for Study of Global Christianity which will be released this month, in 2016, some 90,000 Christians were killed for their faith, making Christians the most persecuted religious group in the world.
In an interview with Vatican Radio on Dec. 26, 2016, Professor Massimo Introvigne, director of the Centre for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR), while the 2016 figure of 90,000 martyrs was a decrease from the 105,000 Christians who were killed in 2015, still one Christian was killed every 6 minutes in 2016. Additionally, 500 to 600 million Christians cannot profess their Christian faith in complete freedom.
Of the 90,000 Christians who were killed in 2016:
- 70% (or 63,000) were killed in tribal conflicts in Africa, often because Christians refused to take up arms.
- The other 30% (or 27,000) were killed in terrorist attacks, destruction of Christian villages, or from governmental persecution, as in the case of North Korea.
- Christians killed by ISIS in the territories of the Islamic State had consciously chosen to remain in these areas to bear witness to their faith. The Catholic Church is studying several of these martyrs in preparation for their possible beatification.
It is believed that the number of Christians who were martyred in 2016 likely exceeds 90,000 because the study was unable to include data from China and India — two east Asian countries with large Christian populations — because of the ‘underground’ nature of churches in those countries.
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Dr. Eowyn’s post first appeared at Fellowship of the Minds