Christian persecution watchdog Open Doors has said that followers of Jesus around the world are being put at risk due to a wave of conspiracy theories blaming believers for the spread of Covid-19.
The organisation highlighted several nations that are playing host to a number of misconceptions about the Christian community and its attitude towards Covid-19.
In Russia, a state news channel falsely reported that an evangelical church in St Petersburg had continued to meet after the lockdown, causing mass infections in the area. "The report led to an attempted arson attack on another evangelical church," Open Doors added.
In Somalia, Islamic terror group al-Shabaab group has conveyed a message to Muslims that coronavirus is spread "by the crusader forces (Christians) who have invaded the country and the disbelieving countries that support them."
Then, in Northern Uganda, Muslims have been blaming Christians for coronavirus, suggesting that Chinese believers have been burning the Qur'an and, as a result, Allah is punishing people with sickness. "They have threatened to put to death any person who is first identified to be positive with the coronavirus," Open Doors added.
Jo Newhouse, spokesperson for Open Doors, said: "It’s distressing to hear of the blaming of Christians for the Covid-19 pandemic in places where the Body of Christ is already under immense pressure.
"We call on the government to do all in its power to counter the spreading of misinformation and to make sure that all minorities are adequately protected against violence, especially in remote areas.”