Violence against Christians — like the bomb attacks that killed at least 311 people in Catholic churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday — has been escalating steadily over the past few years, international observers say.
In just the past few weeks, stark reminders of the danger Christians face around the world abound: an underground priest is dragged from his pickup truck in Xuanhua Diocese in China, a Christian couple in India are beaten by a father accusing them of trying to convert his son, 17 Christians are killed during a child dedication service in Nigeria.
Open Doors USA, a mission for persecuted Christians, estimates that violent attacks on the faithful doubled from 2017 to 2018, with approximately 11 Christians dying every day for their faith.
“There’s a specific pattern of violence around Christian holy days, such as Easter and Christmas,” said Sarah Cunningham, senior director of communications for Open Doors USA.
Nearly 50 worshippers were killed on Palm Sunday 2017 by bombers who targeted Coptic Christians in Cairo. That same year, at Bethel Memorial Methodist Church in Quetta, Pakistan, nine Christians were killed a week before Christmas by suicide bombers linked to the Islamic State.
Whereas international organizers tracking attacks against Christians a generation ago concentrated on the officially atheistic Soviet Union, today the focus is on militant and extremist Muslim factions. – READ MORE