"Persecuted and Forgotten?" 2013 Edition - ACN Report on Christians oppressed for their faith
In many countries the situation of Christians has sharply deteriorated. This is the finding of Persecuted and Forgotten? the 2013 report on Christians oppressed for their Faith. The report examines the situation of Christians in 30 different countries, including Afghanistan, China, Laos, Pakistan, Vietnam and Zimbabwe. In particular it analyses the situation in a number of majority Islamic countries and in those states whose political systems have a pronounced authoritarian character.
For Christians the so-called "Arab spring" has in many cases become what the report calls a "Christian winter". Although the political upheavals have brought suffering to people of all faith communities, nonetheless it is above all the Christian confessions that have experienced the most open hostility and violence. They have become victims of every kind of political, economic, social and religious conflict - for example the conflicts between Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims. As a result, a great many Christians have been forced to flee. The report describes the exodus as reaching "almost biblical proportions".
According to the information presented in Persecuted and Forgotten? the influence of fundamentalist Islamist groups has increased markedly in the past two-and-a-half years. They represent possibly the greatest threat to religious freedom in the world today. Their goal is the elimination, or at the very least the subjugation, of Christians. In communist countries to the efforts have increased to exert control over the Christian population. However, in these countries Christians tend to be persecuted above all on account of their contacts with dissidents and with the West, and not so much on account of their faith alone. In North Korea there is no official recognition of any religious activities, while those that are tolerated are strictly controlled. China continues to insist on asserting its authority over all Christian groups, especially over those not registered with the State.
Drawing on the latest Christian persecution reports available and first-hand testimony, Persecuted and Forgotten? describes the struggles faced by Christian communities who are prevented from practicing their faith and living normal lives. It is for these people that Catholic charities like Aid to the Church in Need exist.
Religious liberty as a fundamental human right is being neglected by world public opinion, above all by politicians and the media. And yet religious liberty is one of the most vital preconditions for democracy. You will find no better summary about your fellow Christian brothers and sisters in Christ who are persecuted for their faith. Please pray for them.
To read the whole report click HERE (You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the report)
To read a short one page summary of the report click HERE
Persecution mapped out. To view a world map of where persecution is worsening for Christians click HERE
The report, published every two years, examines the degree of religious freedom in 196 countries worldwide and covers the year 2011 and the major events of the year 2012. Country by country, the study not only covers the Christian faith but all religious minorities suffering persecution or oppression. As a Catholic charity we believe that religious liberty should apply equally to all religious groups who wish to practise their faith without fear or discrimination.
Overall the report finds that the threats to religious freedom are not diminishing. Even if some improvements seem to have emerged at a legislative level, in reality there have been no significant improvements. Countries that once enjoyed relative calm, such as Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Syria, are now cause for serious concern. Furthermore, the pressure of Islamic extremism on African countries such as Kenya, Mali, Nigeria and Chad, has increased and threatens to destabilize an entire and important area of Africa.
In Pakistan, the anti-blasphemy laws and the hostility towards Christianity within society continue to cause grave damage, both to the legal process and in terms of outright violence (notably, the murder of the Governor of the Punjab, Salman Taseer and that of Shahbaz Bhatti, the Federal Minister for Minorities and a Catholic). In neighbouring India, so-called 'anti-conversion laws' and the abuses of power that derive from them, now appear to be spreading at a local level in a number of states despite the fact that the national Constitution acknowledges the right to religious freedom.
While the Report concerns all suffering or oppressed religious minorities there is no doubt that Christians are the group most exposed to persecution. This finding is also confirmed by other reports on the subject, including those provided by international organisations. Although the number of Christians of different confessions in difficulty because of legal or cultural structures around the world is not known for sure, last year Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Holy See's Secretary for Relations with States, estimated these to be more than 200 million.
Egypt two years after the Arab Spring
Egypt is not only pyramids and sun soaked beaches; it is also a country where the economic and political interests of the world's great powers intertwine.
The Arab Spring popular uprising in Cairo's Tahrir square in January of 2011, has resulted in the country stumbling toward an uncertain future, evermore polarised between Islamist and secular forces.
The Muslim Brotherhood, opposed to secularising tendencies and keen to introduce Shari'ah law, took over the reins of state in 2012. After a controversial year in office, Mohammed Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected president, was ousted by the army following nationwide demonstrations.
The country seems to be divided between two fractions. Egypt's citizens are struggling for stability and economic recovery as they face an uncertain future!
Syrian Refugees in Lebanon
Many refugees from Syria - Homs, Damascus, Aleppo - are settling in makeshift tent camps in Lebanon's Beqaa valley, where conditions are difficult, especially during the winter months.
Unemployment and hunger are some of the struggles these people confront every day. The local diocese in Lebanon, with the help from international organizations like Aid to the Church in Need, is helping provide basic needs to the ever increasing refugee population.
Today they need help with essentials like food and water. Later there will be many in need of counseling and spiritual consolation. In the future they will need help to restore their country.
A short video on the Situation of Christians in Pakistan
Pakistan is the third largest Islamic state in the world.
As a nuclear power it is in a continuous dispute with India and Afghanistan.
This country is also a key player on the international arena in the battle between moderate Islam and radical fundamentalism.
What direction will it take and what does it mean for the minority Christian population?
Colombia: Help for the training of 115 seminarians in Our Lady's Seminary in Marinilla
The diocese of Sonson-Rionegro is a centre for priestly formation in Colombia. In five seminaries here over 800 young men from various different dioceses are preparing for ordination to the priesthood.
Click here for past weeks' featured projects
Catholic News: Reports for you to read about the work of Aid to the Church in NeedPlease note that you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader (AAR) to view these reports. You can download AAR free of charge from the net by going to the Adobe website. To open a report simple click on the cover of the report you are interested in.
ACN is unique from other Catholic Charities as it offers pastoral assistance and Catholic news to the Church wherever she is poor or suffering under Christian persecution.
Aid to the Church in Need PO Box 7246 Baulkham Hills NSW 2153 ABN: 62 418 911 594
Ph/Fax (02) 9679-1929 e-mail: email@example.com web: www.aidtochurch.org