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'How many corpses are required to get the world's attention?': New report warns of increases in global persecution

by Alex Collett

A new report by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) is showing Christian persecution or oppression has increased by 75 percent in the 24 countries the group monitors. 

The main focus of the report was analysing countries from Africa, the Middle East and Asia. 

It showed the situation for Christians in places like Nigeria and Afghanistan has worsened.

The evidence showed a sharp rise in genocidal violence from jihadists and militant non-state actors.

Nigeria has seen kidnappings, priests killed and deadly attacks on churches becoming increasingly regular.

According to one analysis - between January 2021 and June 2022, more than 7,600 Christians were killed within the country.

Bishop Jude Arogundade of Ondo, Nigeria says his diocese suffered more than 40 deaths when St Francis Xavier's Church was attacked on Pentecost Sunday.

He told Premier: "In the north, Christians are really very afraid and when they go to church, they just want to make sure that the security situation around the church is increased, so that they may not have incidents.

"The roads are not safe, people travel on the roads, they are kidnapped, and you have to pay heavy ransom in order to get them released."

He's calling on the international community to act.

"The world is silent as attacks on Churches, their personnel and institutions have become routine," he said. "How many corpses are required to get the world's attention?"

The report also analysed countries from the Middle East too, where the survival of three of the world's oldest and most important Christian communities located in Iraq, Syria and Palestine are at threat as a result of believers fleeing violence.

John Pontifex, told Premier that Afghanistan is nation of particular concern too.

"This country hit the headlines last year with the Taliban's successful recapture of the country and yet, we know that there are still thousands of Christians present in Afghanistan.

"Many have been able to get out. We know that, for example, the last known Catholic priest to be active in Afghanistan was one of those who got the last plane out of Kabul. But there are many other Christians whose lives are really at risk. 

"We know that before when the Taliban were in power, Christians were forced to wear yellow armbands. 

"Reports suggest they had to have their homes and other places properly, earmarked with signals and signs showing that there are Christians there."

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