The U.S. State Department released its annual International Religious Liberty report, and the findings show that Christianity is being targeted around the world.
The State Department cites the Islamic State as one of the worst persecutors of Christians.
“In Mosul, Iraq and nearby towns, shortly after the takeover of the area by militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Christians who had been given the choice to convert, pay a ruinous tax, or die, gathered their families and what few possessions they could carry, and sought all possible means to escape,” the report states. “It has forcibly displaced hundreds of thousands of people, conducted mass executions, and kidnapped, sold, enslaved, raped and/or forcibly converted thousands of women and children—all on the grounds that these people stand in opposition to ISIL’s religious dogma.”
The persecution of Christians is not limited to the Middle East. From Boko Haram’s violence in West Africa to China’s crackdown on the Christian church, the world has become a more dangerous place for those who believe in Christ.
“In the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, and throughout Asia, a range of non-state actors including terrorist organizations, have set their sights on destroying religious diversity,” the report states.
The extensive Congressional-mandated report examines every nation and non-affiliated groups for their treatment of religious minorities.
“In the report’s Executive Summary, Christians are mentioned 23 times in 6 pages, and they are always cited as victims, never perpetrators, of religious persecution,” Catholic League President Bill Donohue said in a statement.
The report also addressed anti-semitism, which “continued to be a major problem around the globe with increases in anti-Semitic incidents recorded in many countries,” the report states.
The report pointed to Europe as a place of problematic anti-semitism. The report cited the shooting by a French Muslim of the Jewish Museum of Belgium in May of last year.
“The surge in anti-Semitism in Western Europe during 2014 left many pondering the viability of Jewish communities in some countries,” the report states. “Although most anti-Semitic incidents consisted mainly of hate speech and the desecration of institutions, monuments, and cemeteries, others turned violent.”
Boko Haram also stands out as one of the major religious persecutors in the world. The State Department report includes estimates that Boko Haram killed more people in 2014 than all five previous years of fighting combined.
“The group deliberately targeted Christians, as well as Muslims who spoke out against or opposed their radical ideology,” the report states. “As West Africa’s most active terror group, Boko Haram claimed responsibility for scores of fatal attacks on churches and mosques, often killing worshipers during religious services or immediately afterward.”
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