The new MIllennium has brought renewed fears of persecution for Christian believers, mostly at the hand of Muslim radicals or government authorities.
In Pakistan, a woman was incarcerated and is facing the death penalty because a neighbor falsely accused her of saying something that offended Islam, although there is no proof that she ever did.
Blasphemy laws in many Muslim countries are a blunt tool which is used easily and without recourse to eliminate people who are unwanted, or speaking out, Muslim or not, or simply because someone in the community decides that they do not want a Christian in their midst. It is also a very efficient deterrent to any dissent.
Years later, the same woman is still incarcerated and still facing the death penalty. This barbaric and medieval law, is a horrific way to silence people. It is almost unimaginable in democratic countries that expressing one's view, or just being of a different religion could result in the death penalty.
But such a trend of persecuting Christians is becoming much more prevalent than in previous years. Gone are the days in which Christians and Muslims and other religious followers coexisted peacefully in countries where the majority is Muslim or Hindu or otherwise.
A recent report published in Germany highlights this problem. Muslims are oppressed in 117 states, but Christians are also oppressed in 130 countries.
Human rights organizations are trying to ascertain whether this trend will continue and the root cause of it.
In general, in those countries where there were restrictions on faith, whether because the country is under Sharia law, or because the country bans religion altogether, or a religion specifically, such as in China, or Burma, or Russia, persecution stems both from government repression, but also the people's response to those laws. The persecution of religious people, whether they be Christians or Muslim occurs when a government or a religious faction act out against a certain religion.
The problem however, is that Christians are persecuted often as a result of civil unrest or sectarian strife in another religion, as can be seen in Egypt, for example.
In other cases, once tranquil communities become engulfed in violence once an external group moves in, such in Mali and other African countries, where Al Qaeda affiliated groups are trying to foment hatred against the Christian majorities.
In Indonesia for example, a country that is looked upon as an example of a moderate Muslim country, small Christian community are persecuted and driven out at. In Jakarta, a Protestant assembly called the Filadelfia community, has not been able to erect a church, and the pastor heading the congregation has been threatened and harassed for a long time. The police, to make things worse, stand by during these episodes and do nothing, reinforcing in the faithful the sense that the only alternative is to flee, something that is obviously the result the authorities and the local Muslims want to see as the outcome of their actions.
In North Korea, Christians are being driven out, simply because the despotic ruler cannot afford to have any competition from any other power or allegiance his citizens could hold.
More importantly, in certain Muslim countries, like Turkey and Pakistan, the school system promotes information that denigrates Christians, and the media compounds the problem with often false or vitriolic accusations against Christians and Jews. This is too a reason for persecution.
An example of how more developed countries can suddenly become a hotbed of persecution is France, where suddenly anti Semitism is becoming dangerously accepted, due to political forces and shifts in the population.
Source : Deutsche Welle/ 1.3.14