(Reuters/Thaier Al-Sudani)A photo of Iraqi Christians praying during a mass on Christmas (Dec. 25, 2016) at St. Joseph Chaldean church in Baghdad, Iraq.
Violent persecutions of Christians living in Islamic countries and in the world's two most populated countries, India and China, are set to increase in 2017, according to Release International.
As per Release International's annual report, the greatest area of concern is the Islamic world, where persecution has risen from both the state as well as the Islamic militants. In India, records of the dramatic increase of attacks from Hindu militants have been reported. In China, unregistered churches are put under a lot of pressure.
In the Middle East, the conflict in Syria and Iraq has forced many Christians to flee their homes. Escaping Christians have also reported how the Islamic State has tortured, sexually abused and even crucified people who refused to renounce their Christian faith.
In Iran, the state is continuing to clamp down on underground Christian churches. Christian leaders who face arrest, imprisonment and torture are forced to face pay expensive bail bonds amounting up to $10,000 or more.
Although Boko Haram and the Islamic State are suffering military defeats in Nigeria, Christian communities in north and central Nigeria continue to face widespread violence because of heavily armed Fulani militants.
In Pakistan, Christians are also facing widespread discrimination in the legal system, and the country's blasphemy laws are still open to widespread abuse. In 2017, more discrimination, forced conversions and forced marriages are to be expected.
According to the Catholic Herald, Prince Charles has stated, on Radio 4's Thought for the Day, that the anti-Christian persecution is being overlooked. The Prince noted that religious freedom was an urgent problem worldwide and that it has become "a daily stark choice between life and death. "
The Prince went so far as to add that the current spread of violence and intolerance echoed "the dark days of the 1930s."
"Whichever religious path we follow, the destination is the same: to value and respect the other person, accepting their right to live out the peaceful response to the Love of God," the Prince said.
© 2016 The Christian Times