In the face of escalating persecution, Christianity’s global reach continues to grow, according to a recent study by the International Christian Concern (ICC), an anti-persecution charity.
The 2023 “Persecutors of the Year” report sheds light on the widespread threats faced by Christians worldwide.
Despite these mounting challenges, Christianity’s resilience shines through. The ICC estimates that 200 to 300 million Christians are currently enduring persecution, including torture, imprisonment, and even murder. Yet, amidst these trials, Christianity continues to spread, demonstrating the unwavering faith of its adherents.
In the report’s foreword, ICC President Jeff King commends the courage and resilience of Christians who continue to thrive in their faith despite unimaginable hardships.
China, Iran, and Nigeria are spotlighted as countries where the Christian faith is growing, even in the face of severe opposition.
Nigeria is identified as one of the most perilous places for Christians today. Believers frequently experience abductions, torture, and killings at the hands of groups like Boko Haram, Fulani militants, and other extremist factions. Churches and Christian institutions are often targeted, leading to destruction and arson.
The report notes that Boko Haram and the Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP) have been responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of Christians and the displacement of millions as they seek to eliminate Western influence and enforce strict Islamic Sharia law. Despite these challenges, the Christian population, numbering around 100 million, is steadily growing in the region.
In Iran, the report indicates that there is one of the fastest-growing Christian communities in the world. Despite 99 percent of the population being Muslim and severe penalties for practicing Christianity, ICC reports a Christian population that has rapidly increased to between 500,000 and 800,000. Iranian Christians face persecution in the form of raids, arrests, fines, detention, torture, and even death penalties for their faith.
China, despite its aggressive suppression of religious expression deemed a threat to national security, reportedly has between 70-100 million “underground Christians.” The government closely monitors and restricts house churches, often denying them registration. Some choose to remain unregistered due to the heavy surveillance and constraints imposed by the authorities.
In its assessment of the global suffering endured by Christians, ICC emphasizes the resilience of the Christian community. The study demonstrates that despite extreme persecution, the Christian faith continues to spread and flourish worldwide.
This report sheds light on the challenges faced by Christians in various parts of the world and the remarkable strength and determination they exhibit in the face of adversity. Despite persecution, the Christian faith continues to grow and thrive, illustrating the unwavering commitment of believers across the globe.