Persecution of Christians
Overview
Persecution of Christians as a consequence of professing their faith can be traced both historically and in the current era. Early Christians were persecuted for their faith, at the hands of both Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

 from whose religion Christianity arose, and the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 which controlled much of the land early Christianity was distributed across. This continued from the 1st century until the early 4th, when the religion was legalized by Constantine I.
Encyclopedia
Persecution of Christians as a consequence of professing their faith can be traced both historically and in the current era. Early Christians were persecuted for their faith, at the hands of both Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

 from whose religion Christianity arose, and the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 which controlled much of the land early Christianity was distributed across. This continued from the 1st century until the early 4th, when the religion was legalized by Constantine I. Michael Gaddis wrote:
The Christian experience of violence during the pagan persecutions shaped the ideologies and practices that drove further religious conflicts over the course of the fourth and fifth centuries... The formative experience of martyrdom and persecution determined the ways in which later Christians would both use and experience violence under the Christian empire. Discourses of martyrdom and persecution formed the symbolic language through which Christians represented, justified, or denounced the use of violence."


Christian missionaries as well as the neophytes that they converted to Christianity have been the target of persecution, many times to the point of being martyred for their faith.
There is also a history of individual Christian denominations suffering persecution at the hands of other Christians under the charge of heresy
Heresy
Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion...

, particularly during the 16th century Protestant Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

.

In the 20th century, Christians have been persecuted by Muslim
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 and Hindu
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 groups inter alia
Inter Alia
-Track listing:# Inter Alia# Outfox'd # Righteous Badass # The Altogether feat. Bix, Apt, UNIVERSE ARM and Cal# The Day-to-Daily# Trouble Brewing # The Prestidigitator# The Force...

, and by atheistic states
State atheism
State atheism is the official "promotion of atheism" by a government, sometimes combined with active suppression of religious freedom and practice...

 such as the USSR and North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

.

Currently (as of 2010), as estimated by the Christian missionary organisation Open Doors
Open Doors
Open Doors is a non-denominational mission supporting persecuted Christians in more than 50 countries where Christianity is socially or legally discouraged or oppressed...

 UK, an estimated 1 million Christians face persecution, particularly in North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

, Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 and Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

. A recent study, cited by the Vatican, reported that 75 out of every 100 people killed due to religious hatred are Christian.

Persecution of Christians in the New Testament

Early Christianity
Early Christianity
Early Christianity is generally considered as Christianity before 325. The New Testament's Book of Acts and Epistle to the Galatians records that the first Christian community was centered in Jerusalem and its leaders included James, Peter and John....

 began as a sect among early Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

 and according to the New Testament account, Pharisees
Pharisees
The Pharisees were at various times a political party, a social movement, and a school of thought among Jews during the Second Temple period beginning under the Hasmonean dynasty in the wake of...

, including Paul of Tarsus
Paul of Tarsus
Paul the Apostle , also known as Saul of Tarsus, is described in the Christian New Testament as one of the most influential early Christian missionaries, with the writings ascribed to him by the church forming a considerable portion of the New Testament...

 prior to his conversion to Christianity, persecuted early Christians. The early Christians preached a Messiah which did not conform to the expectations of the time. However, feeling that he was presaged in Isaiah
Isaiah
Isaiah ; Greek: ', Ēsaïās ; "Yahu is salvation") was a prophet in the 8th-century BC Kingdom of Judah.Jews and Christians consider the Book of Isaiah a part of their Biblical canon; he is the first listed of the neviim akharonim, the later prophets. Many of the New Testament teachings of Jesus...

's Suffering Servant and in all of Jewish scripture, Christians had been hopeful that their countrymen would accept their vision of a New Israel. Despite many individual conversions, a fierce opposition was found in their countrymen.

Dissention began almost immediately with the teachings of Stephen
Saint Stephen
Saint Stephen The Protomartyr , the protomartyr of Christianity, is venerated as a saint in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox Churches....

 at Jerusalem (unorthodox by contemporaneous Jewish standards), and never ceased entirely while the city remained. A year after the crucifixion of Jesus, Stephen was stoned for his alleged transgression of orthodoxy, with Saul
Paul of Tarsus
Paul the Apostle , also known as Saul of Tarsus, is described in the Christian New Testament as one of the most influential early Christian missionaries, with the writings ascribed to him by the church forming a considerable portion of the New Testament...

 (who later converted and was renamed Paul) heartily agreeing.

In 41 AD, when Agrippa I
Agrippa I
Agrippa I also known as Herod Agrippa or simply Herod , King of the Jews, was the grandson of Herod the Great, and son of Aristobulus IV and Berenice. His original name was Marcus Julius Agrippa, so named in honour of Roman statesman Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, and he is the king named Herod in the...

, who already possessed the territory of Antipas and Phillip, obtained the power of procurator
Procurator (Roman)
A procurator was the title of various officials of the Roman Empire, posts mostly filled by equites . A procurator Augusti was the governor of the smaller imperial provinces...

 in Judea, hence re-forming the Kingdom of Herod, he was reportedly eager to endear himself to his Jewish subjects and continued the persecution in which James the lesser lost his life, Peter narrowly escaped and the rest of the apostles took flight.

After Agrippa's death, the Roman procuratorship resumed and those leaders maintained a neutral peace, until the procurator Festus died and the high priest Annas II took advantage of the power vacuum to attack the Church and executed James the greater, then leader of Jerusalem's Christians. The New Testament states that Paul
Paul of Tarsus
Paul the Apostle , also known as Saul of Tarsus, is described in the Christian New Testament as one of the most influential early Christian missionaries, with the writings ascribed to him by the church forming a considerable portion of the New Testament...

 was himself imprisoned on several occasions by Roman authorities, stoned by Pharisees and left for dead on one occasion, and was eventually taken as a prisoner to Rome. Peter and other early Christians were also imprisoned, beaten and harassed. A Jewish revolt, spurred by the Roman killing of 3,000 Jews, led to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, the end of sacrificial Judaism, and the disempowering of the Jewish persecutors; the Christian community, meanwhile, having fled to safety in the already pacified region of Pella
Pella, Jordan
Pella is a village and the site of ancient ruins in northwestern Jordan. It is half an hour by car from Irbid, in the north of the country....

. The early persecution by the Jews is estimated to have a death toll of about 2,000. The Jewish persecutions were trivial when compared with the brutal and widespread persecution by the Romans.

Of the eleven remaining apostles (Judas Iscariot
Judas Iscariot
Judas Iscariot was, according to the New Testament, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus. He is best known for his betrayal of Jesus to the hands of the chief priests for 30 pieces of silver.-Etymology:...

 having killed himself), only one—John the Apostle
John the Apostle
John the Apostle, John the Apostle, John the Apostle, (Aramaic Yoħanna, (c. 6 - c. 100) was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He was the son of Zebedee and Salome, and brother of James, another of the Twelve Apostles...

, the son of Zebedee and the younger brother of the Apostle James—died of natural causes in exile. The other ten were reportedly martyred by various means including beheading, by sword and spear and, in the case of Peter, crucifixion upside down following the execution of his wife. The Romans were involved in some of these persecutions.

The New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

, especially the Gospel of John
Gospel of John
The Gospel According to John , commonly referred to as the Gospel of John or simply John, and often referred to in New Testament scholarship as the Fourth Gospel, is an account of the public ministry of Jesus...

, has traditionally been interpreted as relating Christian accounts of the Pharisee rejection of Jesus and accusations of the Pharisee responsibility for his crucifixion. The Acts of the Apostles
Acts of the Apostles
The Acts of the Apostles , usually referred to simply as Acts, is the fifth book of the New Testament; Acts outlines the history of the Apostolic Age...

 depicts instances of early Christian persecution by the Sanhedrin, the Hebrew religious establishment of the time.

Walter Laqueur argues that hostility between Christians and Jews grew over the generations. By the 4th century, John Chrysostom
John Chrysostom
John Chrysostom , Archbishop of Constantinople, was an important Early Church Father. He is known for his eloquence in preaching and public speaking, his denunciation of abuse of authority by both ecclesiastical and political leaders, the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, and his ascetic...

 was arguing that the Pharisees alone, not the Romans, were responsible for the murder of Christ. However, according to Laqueur: "Absolving Pilate from guilt may have been connected with the missionary activities of early Christianity in Rome and the desire not to antagonize those they want to convert."

At least by the 4th century, the consensus amongst scholars is that persecution by Jews of Christians has been traditionally overstated; according to James Everett Seaver,

Persecution of early Christians in the Roman Empire

The

Persecution under Nero, 64–68 AD

The first documented case of imperially supervised persecution of the Christians in the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 begins with Nero
Nero
Nero , was Roman Emperor from 54 to 68, and the last in the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Nero was adopted by his great-uncle Claudius to become his heir and successor, and succeeded to the throne in 54 following Claudius' death....

 (37–68). In 64 AD, a great fire broke out in Rome
Great Fire of Rome
The Great Fire of Rome was an urban fire that occurred beginning July 19, AD 64.-Background:According to Tacitus, the fire spread quickly and burned for six days. Only four of the fourteen districts of Rome escaped the fire; three districts were completely destroyed and the other seven suffered...

, destroying portions of the city and economically devastating the Roman population. Nero himself was suspected as the arsonist by Suetonius
Suetonius
Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, commonly known as Suetonius , was a Roman historian belonging to the equestrian order in the early Imperial era....

, claiming he played the lyre and sang the 'Sack of Ilium' during the fires. In his Annals, Tacitus
Tacitus
Publius Cornelius Tacitus was a senator and a historian of the Roman Empire. The surviving portions of his two major works—the Annals and the Histories—examine the reigns of the Roman Emperors Tiberius, Claudius, Nero and those who reigned in the Year of the Four Emperors...

 (who claimed Nero was in Antium at the time of the fire's outbreak), stated that "to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians [or Chrestians] by the populace" (Tacit. Annals XV, see Tacitus on Jesus
Tacitus on Jesus
The Roman historian Tacitus referred to Christ and the early Christians in Rome in his Annals , book 15, chapter 44....

). Suetonius, later to the period, does not mention any persecution after the fire, but in a previous paragraph unrelated to the fire, mentions punishments inflicted on Christians, defined as men following a new and malefic superstition. Suetonius however does not specify the reasons for the punishment, he just listed the fact together with other abuses put down by Nero.

Persecution from the 2nd century to Constantine

By the mid-2nd century, mobs could be found willing to throw stones at Christians, and they might be mobilized by rival sects. The Persecution in Lyon was preceded by mob violence, including assaults, robberies and stonings (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 5.1.7).

Further state persecutions were desultory until the 3rd century, though Tertullian
Tertullian
Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus, anglicised as Tertullian , was a prolific early Christian author from Carthage in the Roman province of Africa. He is the first Christian author to produce an extensive corpus of Latin Christian literature. He also was a notable early Christian apologist and...

's Apologeticus
Apologeticus
Apologeticus or Apologeticum is Tertullian's most famous work, consisting of apologetic and polemic; it was written in Carthage in the summer or autumn of 197 AD, during the reign of Septimius Severus. In this work Tertullian defends Christianity, demanding legal toleration and that Christians be...

of 197 was ostensibly written in defense of persecuted Christians and addressed to Roman governors. The "edict of Septimius Severus
Septimius Severus
Septimius Severus , also known as Severus, was Roman Emperor from 193 to 211. Severus was born in Leptis Magna in the province of Africa. As a young man he advanced through the customary succession of offices under the reigns of Marcus Aurelius and Commodus. Severus seized power after the death of...

" familiar in Christian history is doubted by some secular historians to have existed outside Christian martyrology
Martyrology
A martyrology is a catalogue or list of martyrs , arranged in the calendar order of their anniversaries or feasts. Local martyrologies record exclusively the custom of a particular Church. Local lists were enriched by names borrowed from neighbouring churches...

.

The first documentable Empire-wide persecution took place under Maximinus Thrax
Maximinus Thrax
Maximinus Thrax , also known as Maximinus I, was Roman Emperor from 235 to 238.Maximinus is described by several ancient sources, though none are contemporary except Herodian's Roman History. Maximinus was the first emperor never to set foot in Rome...

, though only the clergy were sought out. It was not until Decius
Decius
Trajan Decius , was Roman Emperor from 249 to 251. In the last year of his reign, he co-ruled with his son Herennius Etruscus until they were both killed in the Battle of Abrittus.-Early life and rise to power:...

 during the mid-century that a persecution of Christian laity across the Empire took place. Christian sources aver that a decree was issued requiring public sacrifice, a formality equivalent to a testimonial of allegiance to the Emperor and the established order. Decius authorized roving commission
Roving commission
A roving commission details the duties of a commissioned officer or other official whose responsibilities are neither geographically nor functionally limited....

s visiting the cities and villages to supervise the execution of the sacrifices and to deliver written certificates to all citizens who performed them. Christians were often given opportunities to avoid further punishment by publicly offering sacrifices or burning incense to Roman gods, and were accused by the Romans of impiety when they refused. Refusal was punished by arrest, imprisonment, torture, and executions. Christians fled to safe havens in the countryside and some purchased their certificates, called libelli. Several councils held at Carthage
Carthage
Carthage , implying it was a 'new Tyre') is a major urban centre that has existed for nearly 3,000 years on the Gulf of Tunis, developing from a Phoenician colony of the 1st millennium BC...

 debated the extent to which the community should accept these lapsed Christians.

Some early Christians sought out and welcomed martyrdom. Roman authorities tried hard to avoid Christians because they "goaded, chided, belittled and insulted the crowds until they demanded their death." According to Droge and Tabor, "in 185 the proconsul of Asia, Arrius Antoninus, was approached by a group of Christians demanding to be executed. The proconsul obliged some of them and then sent the rest away, saying that if they wanted to kill themselves there was plenty of rope available or cliffs they could jump off." Such seeking after death is found in Tertullian
Tertullian
Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus, anglicised as Tertullian , was a prolific early Christian author from Carthage in the Roman province of Africa. He is the first Christian author to produce an extensive corpus of Latin Christian literature. He also was a notable early Christian apologist and...

's Scorpiace or in the letters of Saint Ignatius of Antioch but was certainly not the only view of martyrdom in the Christian church. Both Polycarp
Polycarp
Saint Polycarp was a 2nd century Christian bishop of Smyrna. According to the Martyrdom of Polycarp, he died a martyr, bound and burned at the stake, then stabbed when the fire failed to touch him...

 and Cyprian
Cyprian
Cyprian was bishop of Carthage and an important Early Christian writer, many of whose Latin works are extant. He was born around the beginning of the 3rd century in North Africa, perhaps at Carthage, where he received a classical education...

, bishops in Smyrna and Carthage respectively, attempted to avoid martyrdom.

The Great Persecution

The persecutions culminated with Diocletian
Diocletian
Diocletian |latinized]] upon his accession to Diocletian . c. 22 December 244  – 3 December 311), was a Roman Emperor from 284 to 305....

 and Galerius
Galerius
Galerius , was Roman Emperor from 305 to 311. During his reign he campaigned, aided by Diocletian, against the Sassanid Empire, sacking their capital Ctesiphon in 299. He also campaigned across the Danube against the Carpi, defeating them in 297 and 300...

 at the end of the third and beginning of the 4th century. The Great Persecution is considered the largest. Beginning with a series of four edicts banning Christian practices and ordering the imprisonment of Christian clergy, the persecution intensified until all Christians in the empire were commanded to sacrifice to the gods or face immediate execution. Over 20,000 Christians are thought to have died during Diocletian's reign. However, as Diocletian
Diocletian
Diocletian |latinized]] upon his accession to Diocletian . c. 22 December 244  – 3 December 311), was a Roman Emperor from 284 to 305....

 zealously persecuted Christians in the Eastern part of the empire, his co-emperors in the West did not follow the edicts and so Christians in Gaul, Spain, and Britannia were virtually unmolested.

This persecution lasted, until Constantine I
Constantine I
Constantine the Great , also known as Constantine I or Saint Constantine, was Roman Emperor from 306 to 337. Well known for being the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity, Constantine and co-Emperor Licinius issued the Edict of Milan in 313, which proclaimed religious tolerance of all...

 came to power in 313 and legalized Christianity. It was not until Theodosius I
Theodosius I
Theodosius I , also known as Theodosius the Great, was Roman Emperor from 379 to 395. Theodosius was the last emperor to rule over both the eastern and the western halves of the Roman Empire. During his reign, the Goths secured control of Illyricum after the Gothic War, establishing their homeland...

 in the later 4th century that Christianity would become the official religion of the Empire. Between these two events Julian II
Julian the Apostate
Julian "the Apostate" , commonly known as Julian, or also Julian the Philosopher, was Roman Emperor from 361 to 363 and a noted philosopher and Greek writer....

 temporarily restored the traditional Roman religion and established broad religious tolerance renewing Pagan and Christian hostilities.

The conditions under which martyrdom was an acceptable fate or under which it was suicidally embraced occupied writers of the early Christian Church. Broadly speaking, martyrs were considered uniquely exemplary of the Christian faith, and few early saints were not also martyrs.

The New Catholic Encyclopedia states that "Ancient, medieval and early modern hagiographers were inclined to exaggerate the number of martyrs. Since the title of martyr is the highest title to which a Christian can aspire, this tendency is natural". Estimates of Christians killed for religious reasons before the year 313 vary greatly, depending on the scholar quoted, from a high of almost 100,000 to a low of 10,000.

Persecutions of early Christians outside the Roman Empire

In 341, the Zoroastrian Shapur II
Shapur II
Shapur II the Great was the ninth King of the Persian Sassanid Empire from 309 to 379 and son of Hormizd II. During his long reign, the Sassanid Empire saw its first golden era since the reign of Shapur I...

 ordered the massacre of all Christians in the Persian
Persian
Persian means of, from, or related to Persia , or the Persian-speaking world. See:* Persian people, the majority ethnic group of Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan* Persian language, an Iranian language of the Indo-European family...

 Sassanid Empire
Sassanid Empire
The Sassanid Empire , known to its inhabitants as Ērānshahr and Ērān in Middle Persian and resulting in the New Persian terms Iranshahr and Iran , was the last pre-Islamic Persian Empire, ruled by the Sasanian Dynasty from 224 to 651...

. During the persecution, about 1,150 Assyrian
Assyrian
-In antiquity:*ancient Assyria**the Old Assyrian period **the Middle Assyrian period **the Neo-Assyrian period *Either of two provinces of the Persian Empire:**Achaemenid Assyria...

 Christians were martyred under Shapur II in Assuristan (Sassanid ruled Assyria). In the 4th century, the Terving King Athanaric
Athanaric
Athanaric was king of several branches of the Thervingian Goths for at least two decades in the fourth century. His name, Athanareiks, means "Year King" or "King for the Year" comes from the Gothic word Athni meaning "year" and the Gothic Reiks meaning "king."A probable rival of Fritigern, another...

 began persecuting Christians, many of whom were killed.

Persecution of Christians by Persians and Jews during Roman-Persian Wars

According to Antiochus Strategos, a 7th century monk in Palestine, shortly after the Persian army entered Jerusalem in 614, unprecedented looting and sacrilege took place. Church after church was burned down alongside the innumerable Christian artifacts, which were stolen or damaged by the ensuing arson. Given that Khosrau II generally practiced religious tolerance and did deem Christians respectfully, it is not known why Shahrbaraz ordered such a massacre. One reason could simply have been Shahrbaraz's rage at the resistance that had been offered by Jerusalem's Christian populace.
Accounts from early Christian chroniclers suggest that 26,000 Jewish rebels entered the streets of the city. Some Jerusalem Christians were taken captive, gathered together and murdered in mass by Jews. The Greek historian Antiochus Strategos writes that captive Christians were gathered near Mamilla reservoir and the Jews offered to help them escape death if they "become Jews and deny Christ". The Christian captives refused, and the Jews in anger had purchased the Christians from Persians and massacred them on spot. Antiochus writes:
Then the Jews... as of old they bought the Lord from the Jews with silver, so they purchased Christians out of the reservoir; for they gave the Persians silver, and they bought a Christian and slew him like a sheep.
According to Antiochus, the total Christian death toll was 66,509, of which 24,518 corpses were found at Mamilla, many more than were found anywhere else in the city. Other sources give a figure of 60,000 slain. The Jews destroyed the Christian churches and the monasteries, books were burnt and monks and priests killed. According to Israeli archeologists, there was no destruction of churches. A mass burial grave at Mamilla cave was discovered in 1989 by Israeli archeologist Ronny Reich.

Persecution of Christians in the early and medieval Caliphates

In general, Christians subject to Islamic rule were allowed to practice their religion with some notable limitations, see Pact of Umar.
As People of the Book
People of the Book
People of the Book is a term used to designate non-Muslim adherents to faiths which have a revealed scripture called, in Arabic, Al-Kitab . The three types of adherents to faiths that the Qur'an mentions as people of the book are the Jews, Sabians and Christians.In Islam, the Muslim scripture, the...

 they were awarded dhimmi
Dhimmi
A , is a non-Muslim subject of a state governed in accordance with sharia law. Linguistically, the word means "one whose responsibility has been taken". This has to be understood in the context of the definition of state in Islam...

 status (along with Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

 and Mandeans), which, although inferior to the status of Muslims, was more favourable than the plight of adherents of non-Abrahamic faiths such as Zoroastrians and Pagans
Pagans
Pagans may refer to:* Paganism, a group of religions* Order of the Vine, a druidic faction in the "Thief" video game series* Pagans Motorcycle Club, a motorcycle club* The Pagans, a 1970s American punk band...

.

At times, anti-Christian pogroms occurred. Under sharia
Sharia
Sharia law, is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Fiqh jurisprudence interprets and extends the application of sharia to...

, non-Muslims are obligated to pay jizya
Jizya
Under Islamic law, jizya or jizyah is a per capita tax levied on a section of an Islamic state's non-Muslim citizens, who meet certain criteria...

 taxes, which contributed a significant proportion of income for the Islamic state and persuaded many Christians to convert to Islam (Stillman (1979), p. 160.). According to the Hanafi
Hanafi
The Hanafi school is one of the four Madhhab in jurisprudence within Sunni Islam. The Hanafi madhhab is named after the Persian scholar Abu Hanifa an-Nu‘man ibn Thābit , a Tabi‘i whose legal views were preserved primarily by his two most important disciples, Abu Yusuf and Muhammad al-Shaybani...

 school of sharia, the testimony of a non-Muslim (such as a Christian) was not considered valid against the testimony of a Muslim. Other schools differed. Christian men were not allowed to marry a Muslim woman under sharia. Muslim men on the other hand were allowed to marry Christian women.
Christians under Islamic rule had the right to convert to Islam or any other religion, while a murtad, or apostate of Islam, faced severe penalties or even hadd, which could include the death penalty.

Tamerlane instigated large scale massacres of Christians in Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

, Persia, Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

 and Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 in the 14th century AD. Most of the victims were indiginous Assyrians, Arameans and Armenians
Armenians
Armenian people or Armenians are a nation and ethnic group native to the Armenian Highland.The largest concentration is in Armenia having a nearly-homogeneous population with 97.9% or 3,145,354 being ethnic Armenian....

, members of the Assyrian Church of the East
Assyrian Church of the East
The Assyrian Church of the East, officially the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East ʻIttā Qaddishtā w-Shlikhāitā Qattoliqi d-Madnĕkhā d-Āturāyē), is a Syriac Church historically centered in Mesopotamia. It is one of the churches that claim continuity with the historical...

 and Orthodox Churches, which led to the decimation of the hitherto majority Assyrian population in northern Mesopotamia.

Medieval Christian persecution of heresy

In the medieval period the Roman Catholic Church moved to suppress the Cathar
Cathar
Catharism was a name given to a Christian religious sect with dualistic and gnostic elements that appeared in the Languedoc region of France and other parts of Europe in the 11th century and flourished in the 12th and 13th centuries...

 heresy, the Pope
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

 having sanctioned a crusade against the Albigensians
Albigensian Crusade
The Albigensian Crusade or Cathar Crusade was a 20-year military campaign initiated by the Catholic Church to eliminate Catharism in Languedoc...

, during the course of which the massacre of Béziers
Béziers
Béziers is a town in Languedoc in southern France. It is a sub-prefecture of the Hérault department. Béziers hosts the famous Feria de Béziers, centred around bullfighting, every August. A million visitors are attracted to the five-day event...

 took place, with between seven and twenty thousand deaths. Papal legate Arnaud Amalric
Arnaud Amalric
Arnaud Amalric was a Cistercian church leader who took a prominent role in the Albigensian Crusade. He is remembered for allegedly giving advice to a soldier wondering how to distinguish the Catholic friendlies from the Cathar enemies to just "Kill them all...

, when asked how Catholics could be distinguished from Cathars once the city fell, famously replied, "Kill them all, God will know His own." Over the twenty-year period of this campaign an estimated 200,000 to 1,000,000 people were killed.

John Huss, a Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

n preacher of reformation, was burned at the stake on 6 July 1415. Pope Martin V
Pope Martin V
Pope Martin V , born Odo Colonna, was Pope from 1417 to 1431. His election effectively ended the Western Schism .-Biography:...

 issued a bull on 17 March 1420 which proclaimed a crusade "for the destruction of the Wycliffites, Hussite
Hussite
The Hussites were a Christian movement following the teachings of Czech reformer Jan Hus , who became one of the forerunners of the Protestant Reformation...

s and all other heretic
Heresy
Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion...

s in Bohemia".

The Crusades
Crusades
The Crusades were a series of religious wars, blessed by the Pope and the Catholic Church with the main goal of restoring Christian access to the holy places in and near Jerusalem...

 in the Middle East also spilled over into conquest of Eastern Orthodox
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 Christians by Roman Catholics and attempted suppression of the Orthodox Church. The Waldenses were as well persecuted by the Catholic Church, but survive up to this day.

Reformation

The Reformation led to a long period of warfare and communal violence between Catholic and Protestant factions, leading to massacres and forced suppression of the alternative views by the dominant faction in much of Europe.

Anti-Catholic

Anti-Catholicism officially began in 1534 during the English Reformation
English Reformation
The English Reformation was the series of events in 16th-century England by which the Church of England broke away from the authority of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church....

; the Act of Supremacy made the King of England the 'only supreme head on earth of the Church in England.' Any act of allegiance to the latter was considered treason. It was under this act that Thomas More was executed. Queen Elizabeth I
Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty...

's scorn for Jesuit missionaries led to many executions at Tyburn
Tyburn
Tyburn is a former village just outside the then boundaries of London that was best known as a place of public execution.Tyburn may also refer to:* Tyburn , river and historical water source in London...

. As punishment for the rebellion of 1641, almost all lands owned by Irish Catholics
Irish people
The Irish people are an ethnic group who originate in Ireland, an island in northwestern Europe. Ireland has been populated for around 9,000 years , with the Irish people's earliest ancestors recorded having legends of being descended from groups such as the Nemedians, Fomorians, Fir Bolg, Tuatha...

 were confiscated and given to Protestant settlers. Under the penal laws
Penal Laws (Ireland)
The term Penal Laws in Ireland were a series of laws imposed under English and later British rule that sought to discriminate against Roman Catholics and Protestant dissenters in favour of members of the established Church of Ireland....

 no Irish Catholic could sit in the Parliament of Ireland
Parliament of Ireland
The Parliament of Ireland was a legislature that existed in Dublin from 1297 until 1800. In its early mediaeval period during the Lordship of Ireland it consisted of either two or three chambers: the House of Commons, elected by a very restricted suffrage, the House of Lords in which the lords...

, even though some 90% of Ireland's population was native Irish Catholic when the first of these bans was introduced in 1691. Catholic / Protestant strife has been blamed for much of "The Troubles
The Troubles
The Troubles was a period of ethno-political conflict in Northern Ireland which spilled over at various times into England, the Republic of Ireland, and mainland Europe. The duration of the Troubles is conventionally dated from the late 1960s and considered by many to have ended with the Belfast...

", the ongoing struggle in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

.

This attitude was carried to the English colonies in America, which eventually became the United States. In these colonies, Catholicism was introduced with the settling of Maryland
Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

 in 1634; this colony offered a rare example of religious toleration
Religious toleration
Toleration is "the practice of deliberately allowing or permitting a thing of which one disapproves. One can meaningfully speak of tolerating, ie of allowing or permitting, only if one is in a position to disallow”. It has also been defined as "to bear or endure" or "to nourish, sustain or preserve"...

 in a fairly intolerant age, particularly amongst other English colonies which frequently exhibited a quite militant Protestantism
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

. (See the Maryland Toleration Act
Maryland Toleration Act
The Maryland Toleration Act, also known as the Act Concerning Religion, was a law mandating religious tolerance for trinitarian Christians. Passed on April 21, 1649 by the assembly of the Maryland colony, it was the second law requiring religious tolerance in the British North American colonies and...

, and note the pre-eminence of the Archdiocese of Baltimore
Baltimore
Baltimore is the largest independent city in the United States and the largest city and cultural center of the US state of Maryland. The city is located in central Maryland along the tidal portion of the Patapsco River, an arm of the Chesapeake Bay. Baltimore is sometimes referred to as Baltimore...

 in Catholic circles.) However, at the time of the American Revolution
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

, Catholics formed less than 1% of the population of the thirteen colonies.

Anti-Eastern Orthodox

In 1656, Macarios III Zaim
Macarios III Zaim
Patriarch Yousef Yuhanna Meletios Macarios III Zaim was Melkite Greek Patriarch of Antioch from 1647 to 1672. He led a period of blossoming of his Church and he is also remembered for his travels in Russia and for his involvement in the reforms of Russian Patriarch Nikon.-Life:Yousef Zaim was born...

, who was the Greek Patriarch of Antioch
Patriarch of Antioch
Patriarch of Antioch is a traditional title held by the Bishop of Antioch. As the traditional "overseer" of the first gentile Christian community, the position has been of prime importance in the church from its earliest period...

, lamented over the atrocities committed by the Polish Catholics against followers of Greek Orthodoxy. Macarios was quoted as stating that seventy or eighty thousand followers of Eastern Orthodoxy were killed under hands of the Catholics. Greek Patriarch Macarios desired Turkish sovereignty over Catholic subjugation, stating:
God perpetuate the empire of the Turks
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 for ever and ever! For they take their impost, and enter no account of religion, be their subjects Christians or Nazarenes, Jews or Samaritians; whereas these accursed Poles were not content with taxes and tithes from the brethren of Christ...

Anti-Protestant

Anti-Protestantism originated in a reaction by the Catholic Church against the Protestant Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

 of the 16th century. Protestants were denounced as heretics and subject to persecution in those territories, such as Spain, Italy and the Netherlands, in which the Catholics were the dominant power. This movement was orchestrated by Popes and Princes as the Counter Reformation. This resulted in religious wars and eruptions of sectarian hatred such as the St Bartholomew's Day Massacre of 1572.

Persecution of the Anabaptists

When the disputes between Lutherans and Roman Catholics gained a political dimension, both groups saw other groups of religious dissidents that were arising as a danger to their own security. The early "Täufer" (lit. "Baptists") were mistrusted and rejected by both religio-political parties. Religious persecution is often perpetrated as a means of political control, and this becomes evident with the Treaty of Augsburg in 1555. This treaty provided the legal groundwork for persecution of the Anabaptists.

China

Beginning in the late 17th century, Christianity was banned for at least a century in China by Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China....

 after the Pope
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

 forbade Chinese Catholics
Roman Catholicism in China
Roman Catholicism in China has a long and complicated history...

 from venerating
Veneration
Veneration , or veneration of saints, is a special act of honoring a saint: an angel, or a dead person who has been identified by a church committee as singular in the traditions of the religion. It is practiced by the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic, and Eastern Catholic Churches...

 their relatives or Confucius
Confucius
Confucius , literally "Master Kong", was a Chinese thinker and social philosopher of the Spring and Autumn Period....

. During the Boxer Rebellion
Boxer Rebellion
The Boxer Rebellion, also called the Boxer Uprising by some historians or the Righteous Harmony Society Movement in northern China, was a proto-nationalist movement by the "Righteous Harmony Society" , or "Righteous Fists of Harmony" or "Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists" , in China between...

, anti Christian Boxers, and Muslim Kansu Braves serving in the Chinese army attacked Christians.

During the Northern Expedition, the Kuomintang incited anti-foreign, anti-Western sentiment
Anti-Western sentiment
Anti-Western sentiment refers to broad opposition or hostility to the people, policies, or governments in the western world. In many cases the United States, Israël and the United Kingdom are the subject of discussion or hostility...

. Portraits of Sun Yatsen replaced the crucifix in several churches, KMT posters proclaimed- "Jesus Christ is dead. Why not worship something alive such as Nationalism?". Foreign missionaries were attacked and anti foreign riots broke out.

During the Northern Expedition, in 1926 in Guangxi, Muslim General Bai Chongxi
Bai Chongxi
Bai Chongxi , , also spelled Pai Chung-hsi, was a Chinese general in the National Revolutionary Army of the Republic of China and a prominent Chinese Nationalist Muslim leader. He was of Hui ethnicity and of the Muslim faith...

 led his troops in destroying Buddhist temples and smashing idols, turning the temples into schools and Kuomintang party headquarters. It was reported that almost all of Buddhist monasteries in Guangxi were destroyed by Bai in this manner. The monks were removed. Bai led a wave of anti foreignism in Guangxi, attacking American, European, and other foreigners and missionaries, and generally making the province unsafe for foreigners. Westerners fled from the province, and some Chinese Christians were also attacked as imperialist agents.

Japan

Tokugawa Ieyasu
Tokugawa Ieyasu
 was the founder and first shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan , which ruled from the Battle of Sekigahara  in 1600 until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. Ieyasu seized power in 1600, received appointment as shogun in 1603, abdicated from office in 1605, but...

 assumed control over Japan in 1600. Like Toyotomi Hideyoshi
Toyotomi Hideyoshi
was a daimyo warrior, general and politician of the Sengoku period. He unified the political factions of Japan. He succeeded his former liege lord, Oda Nobunaga, and brought an end to the Sengoku period. The period of his rule is often called the Momoyama period, named after Hideyoshi's castle...

, he disliked Christian activities in Japan. The Tokugawa shogunate
Tokugawa shogunate
The Tokugawa shogunate, also known as the and the , was a feudal regime of Japan established by Tokugawa Ieyasu and ruled by the shoguns of the Tokugawa family. This period is known as the Edo period and gets its name from the capital city, Edo, which is now called Tokyo, after the name was...

 finally decided to ban Catholicism, in 1614 and in the mid-17th century it demanded the expulsion of all European missionaries and the execution of all converts. This marked the end of open Christianity in Japan. The Shimabara Rebellion
Shimabara Rebellion
The was an uprising largely involving Japanese peasants, most of them Catholic Christians, in 1637–1638 during the Edo period.It was one of only a handful of instances of serious unrest during the relatively peaceful period of the Tokugawa shogunate's rule...

, led by a young Japanese Christian
Kirishitan
, from Portuguese cristão, referred to Roman Catholic Christians in Japanese and is used as a historiographic term for Roman Catholics in Japan in the 16th and 17th centuries. Christian missionaries were known as bateren or iruman...

 boy named Amakusa Shiro Tokisada
Amakusa Shiro
also known as was the teenage leader of the Shimabara Rebellion.- Biography :The son of former Konishi clan retainer , Shirō was born in modern-day Kami-Amakusa, Kumamoto in a Catholic family...

, took place in 1637. After the Hara Castle
Hara Castle
is a castle in Hizen Province. During the Shimabara Rebellion , the rebellious peasants were besieged there.As a result of the Shimabara Rebellion in 1637, the Shogunate decided to expel the Portuguese from Japan...

 fell, the shogunate's forces beheaded an estimated 37,000 rebels and sympathizers. Amakusa Shirō's severed head was taken to Nagasaki for public display, and the entire complex at Hara Castle was burned to the ground and buried together with the bodies of all the dead.

Many of the Christians in Japan continued for two centuries to maintain their religion as Kakure Kirishitan
Kakure Kirishitan
is a modern term for a member of the Japanese Catholic Church that went underground after the Shimabara Rebellion in the 1630s.-History:Kakure Kirishitans are called the "hidden" Christians because they continued to practice Christianity in secret. They worshipped in secret rooms in private homes...

, or hidden Christians, without any priests or pastors. Some of those who were killed for their Faith are venerated as the Martyrs of Japan
Martyrs of Japan
The refers to a group of Christians who were executed by crucifixion on February 5, 1597 at Nagasaki. Their martyrdom is especially significant in the history of Roman Catholicism in Japan....

 by the Catholic Church, Anglican Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is a mainline Protestant denomination headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. The ELCA officially came into existence on January 1, 1988, by the merging of three churches. As of December 31, 2009, it had 4,543,037 baptized members, with 2,527,941 of them...

 and the Episcopal Church
Episcopal Church (United States)
The Episcopal Church is a mainline Anglican Christian church found mainly in the United States , but also in Honduras, Taiwan, Colombia, Ecuador, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, the British Virgin Islands and parts of Europe...

.

Although Christianity was later allowed during the Meiji era, Christians were again persecuted during the period of State Shinto
State Shinto
has been called the state religion of the Empire of Japan, although it did not exist as a single institution and no "Shintō" was ever declared a state religion...

.

India

In spite of the fact that there have been relatively fewer conflicts between Muslims and Christians in India in comparison to those between Muslims and Hindus, or Muslims and Sikhs, the relationship between Muslims and Christians have been occasionally turbulent. With the advent of European colonialism in India throughout the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, Christians were systematically persecuted in a few Muslim ruled kingdoms in India.

Perhaps the most infamous acts of anti-Christian persecution by Muslims was committed by Tippu Sultan, the ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore
Kingdom of Mysore
The Kingdom of Mysore was a kingdom of southern India, traditionally believed to have been founded in 1399 in the vicinity of the modern city of Mysore. The kingdom, which was ruled by the Wodeyar family, initially served as a vassal state of the Vijayanagara Empire...

 against the Mangalorean Catholic community from Mangalore
Mangalore
Mangalore is the chief port city of the Indian state of Karnataka. It is located about west of the state capital, Bangalore. Mangalore lies between the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghat mountain ranges, and is the administrative headquarters of the Dakshina Kannada district in south western...

 and the erstwhile South Canara
South Canara
South Canara was a district under the British empire, located at . It was bifurcated in 1859 from Canara district. It was the undivided Dakshina Kannada district...

 district on the southwestern coast of India. Tippu was widely reputed to be anti-Christian. The captivity of Mangalorean Catholics at Seringapatam, began on 24 February 1784 and ended on 4 May 1799.

The Bakur Manuscript reports him as having said:
"All Musalmans should unite together, and considering the annihilation of infidels as a sacred duty, labor to the utmost of their power, to accomplish that subject."
Soon after the Treaty of Mangalore
Treaty of Mangalore
The Treaty of Mangalore was signed between Tippu Sultan and the British East India Company on 11 March 1784. It was signed in Mangalore and brought an end to the Second Anglo-Mysore War.-Background:...

 in 1784, Tippu gained control of Canara. He issued orders to seize the Christians in Canara, confiscate their estates, and deport them to Seringapatam, the capital of his empire, through the Jamalabad fort
Jamalabad
Jamalabad fort, located 8 km north of Beltangadi town, is 1788 ft above sea level and was formerly called Narasimha Ghada, which refers to the granite hill on which the fort is built. It is also referred locally as 'Jamalagadda' or 'Gadaikallu'.The fort was built by Tippu Sultan in 1794 and named...

 route. There were no priests among the captives. Together with Fr Miranda, all the 21 arrested priests were issued orders of expulsion to Goa, fined Rs 2 lakhs, and threatened death by hanging if they ever returned.

Tippu ordered the destruction of 27 Catholic churches. Among them were the Church of Nossa Senhora de Rosario Milagres at Mangalore
Mangalore
Mangalore is the chief port city of the Indian state of Karnataka. It is located about west of the state capital, Bangalore. Mangalore lies between the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghat mountain ranges, and is the administrative headquarters of the Dakshina Kannada district in south western...

, Fr Miranda's Seminary at Monte Mariano, Church of Jesu Marie Jose at Omzoor
Omzoor
Omzoor is situated at a distance of 14 km from Mangalore to the north east and is surrounded by Neermarga, Belloor, Modankap, Fermai parishes....

, Chapel at Bolar, Church of Merces at Ullal
Ullal
Ullāḷ is a panchayat town in Dakshina Kannada district in the Indian state of Karnataka. It is a small town about 8–10 km south of Mangalore close to the border between the two southern states of Karnataka and Kerala. It comprises two revenue villages, Ullal and Parmannur, in Mangalore Taluk...

, Imaculata Conceiciao at Mulki, San Jose at Perar, Nossa Senhora dos Remedios at Kirem, Sao Lawrence at Karkal, Rosario at Barkur
Barkur
Barkur is a cluster of 3 villages [Hosala, Hanehalli, Kachoor] in Udupi district of the Karnataka state in South India. The place is located on the bank of river Seeta.-History:...

, Immaculata Conceciao at Baidnur. All were razed to the ground, with the exception of Igreja da Santa Cruz Hospet also known as Hospet Church
Hospet Church
The Church of Holy Cross of Hospet in South Canara, is one of the ancient church in the Mangalore Diocese of India. Being situated in Hosabettu, it is also known as Hosabettu Church. This was the only church that escaped the drive for the demolition of churches by Tippu Sultan during early...

 at Hospet,owing to the friendly offices of the Chauta Raja of Moodbidri.

According to Thomas Munro, a Scottish soldier and the first collector of Canara, around 60,000 of them, nearly 92 percent of the entire Mangalorean Catholic community, were captured, only 7,000 escaped. Francis Buchanan
Francis Buchanan-Hamilton
Dr Francis Buchanan, later known as Francis Hamilton but often referred to as Francis Buchanan-Hamilton was a Scottish physician who made significant contributions as a geographer, zoologist, and botanist while living in India.The standard botanical author abbreviation Buch.-Ham. is applied to...

 gives the numbers as 70,000 captured, from a population of 80,000, with 10,000 escaping. They were forced to climb nearly 4000 feet (1,219.2 m) through the jungles of the Western Ghat
Western Ghats
The Western Ghats, Western Ghauts or the Sahyādri is a mountain range along the western side of India. It runs north to south along the western edge of the Deccan Plateau, and separates the plateau from a narrow coastal plain along the Arabian Sea. The Western Ghats block rainfall to the Deccan...

 mountain ranges. It was 210 miles (338 km) from Mangalore to Seringapatam, and the journey took six weeks. According to British Government records, 20,000  of them died on the march to Seringapatam. According to James Scurry, a British officer, who was held captive along with Mangalorean Catholics, 30,000 of them were forcibly converted to Islam. The young women and girls were forcibly made wives of the Muslims living there. The young men who offered resistance were disfigured by cutting their noses, upper lips, and ears. According to Mr. Silva of Gangolim, a survivor of the captivity, if a person who had escaped from Seringapatam was found, the punishment under the orders of Tippu was the cutting off of the ears, nose, the feet and one hand.

The Archbishop of Goa wrote in 1800, "It is notoriously known in all Asia and all other parts of the globe of the oppression and sufferings experienced by the Christians in the Dominion of the King of Kanara, during the usurpation of that country by Tipu Sultan from an implacable hatred he had against them who professed Christianity."
Tippu Sultan's invasion of the Malabar Coast
Malabar Coast
The Malabar Coast is a long and narrow coastline on the south-western shore line of the mainland Indian subcontinent. Geographically, it comprises the wettest regions of southern India, as the Western Ghats intercept the moisture-laden monsoon rains, especially on their westward-facing mountain...

 had an adverse impact on the Syrian Malabar Nasrani
Syrian Malabar Nasrani
The Syrian Malabar Nasrani people, also known as Saint Thomas Christians, "'Nasrani Mappila'" and Nasranis, are an ethnoreligious group from Kerala, India, adhering to the various churches of the Saint Thomas Christian tradition...

 community of the Malabar coast. Many churches in Malabar and Cochin were damaged. The old Syrian Nasrani seminary at Angamaly which had been the center of Catholic religious education for several centuries was razed to the ground by Tippu's soldiers. Many centuries-old religious manuscripts were lost forever. The church was later relocated to Kottayam where it still exists to this date. The Mor Sabor church at Akaparambu and the Martha Mariam Church attached to the seminary were destroyed as well. Tippu's army set fire to the church at Palayoor and attacked the Ollur Church in 1790. Furthernmore, the Arthat church and the Ambazhakkad seminary was also destroyed. Over the course of this invasion, many Syrian Malabar Nasrani were killed or forcibly converted to Islam. Most of the coconut, arecanut, pepper and cashew plantations held by the Syrian Malabar farmers were also indiscriminately destroyed by the invading army. As a result, when Tippu's army invaded Guruvayur and adjacent areas, the Syrian Christian community fled Calicut and small towns like Arthat to new centres like Kunnamkulam, Chalakudi, Ennakadu, Cheppadu, Kannankode, Mavelikkara
Mavelikkara
Mavelikara is a town in Alappuzha district of Kerala, India, spread over an area of 12.65 km2. It is in the southern part of Alappuzha district on the banks of the Achankovil River. Mavelikara is located 8km east of National Highway. Mavelikara is known as the capital of...

, etc. where there were already Christians. They were given refuge by Sakthan Tamburan, the ruler of Cochin and Karthika Thirunal, the ruler of Travancore, who gave them lands, plantations and encouraged their businesses. Colonel Macqulay, the British resident of Travancore also helped them.

Tippu's persecution of Christians also extended to captured British soldiers. For instance, there were a significant amount of forced conversions of British captives between 1780 and 1784. Following their disastrous defeat at the battle of Pollilur
Battle of Pollilur
The Battle of Pollilur, also known as the Battle of Polilore or Battle of Perambakam, took place on 10 September 1780 at Pollilur near the city of Kanchipuram in present-day Tamil Nadu state, India as part of the Second Anglo-Mysore War...

, 7,000 British men along with an unknown number of women were held captive by Tippu in the fortress of Seringapatnam. Of these, over 300 were circumcised and given Muslim names and clothes and several British regimental drummer boys were made to wear ghagra cholis and entertain the court as nautch girls or dancing girls. After the 10 year long captivity ended, James Scurry, one of those prisoners, recounted that he had forgotten how to sit in a chair and use a knife and fork. His English was broken and stilted, having lost all his vernacular idiom. His skin had darkened to the swarthy complexion of negro
Negro
The word Negro is used in the English-speaking world to refer to a person of black ancestry or appearance, whether of African descent or not...

es, and moreover, he had developed an aversion to wearing European clothes.

During the surrender of the Mangalore fort which was delievered in an armistice by the British and their subsequent withdrawal, all the Mestizos and remaining non-British foreigners were killed, together with 5,600 Mangalorean Catholics. Those condemned by Tippu Sultan for treachery were hanged instantly, the gibbets being weighed down by the number of bodies they carried. The Netravati River was so putrid with the stench of dying bodies, that the local residents were forced to leave their riverside homes.

French Revolution

The Dechristianisation of France during the French Revolution is a conventional description of a campaign, conducted by various Robespierre-era governments of France beginning with the start of the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

 in 1789, in order to eliminate any symbol that might be associated with the past, especially the monarchy.

The program included the following policies:
  • the deportation of clergy and the condemnation of many of them to death,
  • the closing, desecration
    Desecration
    Desecration is the act of depriving something of its sacred character, or the disrespectful or contemptuous treatment of that which is held to be sacred or holy by a group or individual.-Detail:...

     and pilaging of churches, removal of the word "saint" from street names and other acts to banish Christian culture from the public sphere
  • removal of statues, plates and other iconography from places of worship
  • destruction of crosses, bells and other external signs of worship
  • the institution of revolutionary and civic cults, including the Cult of Reason
    Cult of Reason
    The Cult of Reason was an atheistic belief system established in France and intended as a replacement for Christianity during the French Revolution.-Origins:...

     and subsequently the Cult of the Supreme Being
    Cult of the Supreme Being
    The Cult of the Supreme Being was a form of deism established in France by Maximilien Robespierre during the French Revolution. It was intended to become the state religion of the new French Republic.- Origins :...

    ,
  • the large scale destruction of religious monuments,
  • the outlawing of public and private worship and religious education,
  • forced marriages of the clergy,
  • forced abjurement of priesthood, and
  • the enactment of a law on 21 October 1793 making all nonjuring priests and all persons who harbored them liable to death on sight.


The climax was reached with the celebration of the Goddess "Reason" in Notre Dame
Notre Dame de Paris
Notre Dame de Paris , also known as Notre Dame Cathedral, is a Gothic, Roman Catholic cathedral on the eastern half of the Île de la Cité in the fourth arrondissement of Paris, France. It is the cathedral of the Catholic Archdiocese of Paris: that is, it is the church that contains the cathedra of...

 Cathedral on 10 November.

Under threat of death, imprisonment, military conscription or loss of income, about 20,000 constitutional priests were forced to abdicate or hand over their letters of ordination and 6,000 – 9,000 were coerced to marry, many ceasing their ministerial duties. Some of those who abdicated covertly ministered to the people. By the end of the decade, approximately 30,000 priests were forced to leave France, and thousands who did not leave were executed. Most of France was left without the services of a priest, deprived of/liberated from the sacraments and any nonjuring priest faced the guillotine
Guillotine
The guillotine is a device used for carrying out :executions by decapitation. It consists of a tall upright frame from which an angled blade is suspended. This blade is raised with a rope and then allowed to drop, severing the head from the body...

 or deportation to French Guiana
French Guiana
French Guiana is an overseas region of France, consisting of a single overseas department located on the northern Atlantic coast of South America. It has borders with two nations, Brazil to the east and south, and Suriname to the west...

.

The March 1793 conscription requiring Vendeans
Vendée
The Vendée is a department in the Pays-de-la-Loire region in west central France, on the Atlantic Ocean. The name Vendée is taken from the Vendée river which runs through the south-eastern part of the department.-History:...

 to fill their district's quota of 300,000 enraged the populace, who took up arms as "The Catholic Army", "Royal" being added later, and fought for "above all the reopening of their parish churches with their former priests." A massacre of 6,000 Vendée prisoners, many of them women, took place after the battle of Savenay
Savenay
Savenay is a commune in the Loire-Atlantique department in western France and the Pays de la Loire region. Located on the Sillon de Bretagne , north of the Loire, its landscape is characterized by the hillside overlooking the marshes of the Loire...

, along with the drowning of 3,000 Vendée women at Pont-au-Baux and 5,000 Vendée priests, old men, women, and children killed by drowning at the Loire River at Nantes
Nantes
Nantes is a city in western France, located on the Loire River, from the Atlantic coast. The city is the 6th largest in France, while its metropolitan area ranks 8th with over 800,000 inhabitants....

 in what was called the "national bath" – tied in groups in barges and then sunk into the Loire.

With these massacres
Mass murder
Mass murder is the act of murdering a large number of people , typically at the same time or over a relatively short period of time. According to the FBI, mass murder is defined as four or more murders occurring during a particular event with no cooling-off period between the murders...

 came formal orders for forced evacuation; also, a 'scorched earth
Scorched earth
A scorched earth policy is a military strategy or operational method which involves destroying anything that might be useful to the enemy while advancing through or withdrawing from an area...

' policy was initiated: farms were destroyed, crops and forests burned and villages razed. There were many reported atrocities and a campaign of mass killing universally targeted at residents of the Vendée
Vendée
The Vendée is a department in the Pays-de-la-Loire region in west central France, on the Atlantic Ocean. The name Vendée is taken from the Vendée river which runs through the south-eastern part of the department.-History:...

 regardless of combatant status, political affiliation, age or gender. By July 1796, the estimated Vendean dead numbered between 117,000 and 500,000, out of a population of around 800,000. Some historians call these mass killings the first modern genocide
Genocide
Genocide is defined as "the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group", though what constitutes enough of a "part" to qualify as genocide has been subject to much debate by legal scholars...

, specifically because intent to exterminate the Catholic Vendeans was clearly stated, though others have rejected these claims.

Ottoman Empire

In 1842 Assyrians living in the mountains of Hakkari
Hakkari
Hakkâri , is a city and the capital of the Hakkâri Province of Turkey. The name Hakkâri is derived from the Syriac word, Akkare, meaning farmers...

 in south east Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

 faced a massive unprovoked attack from Ottoman forces and Kurdish
Kurdish
Kurdish may refer to:*The Kurdish people*The Kurdish language*The Kurdish alphabet*Kurdistan, the land of the Kurdish people which includes:*Iranian Kurdistan*Iraqi Kurdistan*Turkish Kurdistan*Syrian Kurdistan*History of the Kurdish people...

 irregulars, which resulted in the death of tens of thousands of unarmed Christian Assyrians.

A major massacre of Assyrians and Armenians
Armenians
Armenian people or Armenians are a nation and ethnic group native to the Armenian Highland.The largest concentration is in Armenia having a nearly-homogeneous population with 97.9% or 3,145,354 being ethnic Armenian....

 in the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 occurred between 1894 and 1897 AD by Turkish
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 troops and their Kurdish
Kurdish people
The Kurdish people, or Kurds , are an Iranian people native to the Middle East, mostly inhabiting a region known as Kurdistan, which includes adjacent parts of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey...

 henchmen during the rule of Sultan
Sultan
Sultan is a title with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic language abstract noun meaning "strength", "authority", "rulership", and "dictatorship", derived from the masdar سلطة , meaning "authority" or "power". Later, it came to be used as the title of certain rulers who...

 Abdul Hamid II
Abdul Hamid II
His Imperial Majesty, The Sultan Abdülhamid II, Emperor of the Ottomans, Caliph of the Faithful was the 34th sultan of the Ottoman Empire...

 (the Hamidian massacre). The motives for these massacres were an attempt to reassert Pan-Islamism
Pan-Islamism
Pan-Islamism is a political movement advocating the unity of Muslims under one Islamic state — often a Caliphate. As a form of religious nationalism, Pan-Islamism differentiates itself from other pan-nationalistic ideologies, for example Pan-Arabism, by excluding culture and ethnicity as primary...

 in the Ottoman Empire, resentment at the comparative wealth of the ancient indigenous Christian communities, and a fear that they would attempt to secede from the tottering Ottoman Empire. Assyrians and Armenians were massacred in Diyarbakir
Diyarbakir
Diyarbakır is one of the largest cities in southeastern Turkey...

, Hasankeyef, Sivas and other parts of Anatolia and northern Mesopotamia, by Sultan Abdul Hamid II. These attacks caused the death of tens of thousands of Assyrians and Armenians and the forced "Ottomanisation" of the inhabitants of 245 villages. The Turkish troops looted the remains of settlements and these were later stolen and occupied by Muslim Kurds. Unarmed Christian women and children were raped, tortured and murdered.
The Young Turks
Young Turks
The Young Turks , from French: Les Jeunes Turcs) were a coalition of various groups favouring reformation of the administration of the Ottoman Empire. The movement was against the absolute monarchy of the Ottoman Sultan and favoured a re-installation of the short-lived Kanûn-ı Esâsî constitution...

 government of the collapsing Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 in 1915 persecuted Christian
Eastern Christianity
Eastern Christianity comprises the Christian traditions and churches that developed in the Balkans, Eastern Europe, Asia Minor, the Middle East, Northeastern Africa, India and parts of the Far East over several centuries of religious antiquity. The term is generally used in Western Christianity to...

 populations in Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

, Persia and Northern Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

. The onslaught by the Ottoman army, including Kurdish and Circassian irregulars resulting in an estimated 2.1 million deaths, divided between roughly 1.2 Million Armenian Christians
Armenian Apostolic Church
The Armenian Apostolic Church is the world's oldest National Church, is part of Oriental Orthodoxy, and is one of the most ancient Christian communities. Armenia was the first country to adopt Christianity as its official religion in 301 AD, in establishing this church...

, 0.75 million Assyrians
Assyrian people
The Assyrian people are a distinct ethnic group whose origins lie in ancient Mesopotamia...

 and 0.3 million Greek Orthodox Christians, a number of Georgians
Georgians
The Georgians are an ethnic group that have originated in Georgia, where they constitute a majority of the population. Large Georgian communities are also present throughout Russia, European Union, United States, and South America....

 were also killed. The Genocide led to the devastation of ancient indigenous Christian peoples who had existed in the region for thousands of years.

Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact Countries

After the Revolution of 1917, the Bolsheviks undertook a massive program to remove the influence of the Russian Orthodox Church
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...

 from the government and Russian society, and to make the state atheist. Tens of thousands of churches were destroyed or converted to other uses, and many members of clergy were imprisoned for anti-government activities. An extensive education and propaganda campaign was undertaken to convince people, especially the children and youth, to abandon religious beliefs. This persecution resulted in the martyrdom of millions of Orthodox followers in the 20th century by the Soviet Union, whether intentional or not.

This persecution spread not only to the Orthodox, but also other groups, such as the Mennonite
Mennonite
The Mennonites are a group of Christian Anabaptist denominations named after the Frisian Menno Simons , who, through his writings, articulated and thereby formalized the teachings of earlier Swiss founders...

s, who largely fled to the Americas.

Before and after the October Revolution of 7 November 1917 (25 October Old Calendar) there was a movement within the Soviet Union to unite all of the people of the world under Communist rule (see Communist International). This included the Eastern European bloc countries as well as the Balkan States. Since some of these Slavic states tied their ethnic heritage to their ethnic churches, both the peoples and their church were targeted by the Soviet and its form of State atheism
State atheism
State atheism is the official "promotion of atheism" by a government, sometimes combined with active suppression of religious freedom and practice...

. The Soviets' official religious stance was one of "religious freedom or tolerance", though the state established atheism as the only scientific truth (see also the Soviet or committee of the All-Union Society for the Dissemination of Scientific and Political Knowledge or Znanie which was until 1947 called The League of the Militant Godless and various Intelligentsia
Intelligentsia
The intelligentsia is a social class of people engaged in complex, mental and creative labor directed to the development and dissemination of culture, encompassing intellectuals and social groups close to them...

 groups). Criticism of atheism was strictly forbidden and sometimes resulted in imprisonment. Some of the more high profile individuals executed include Metropolitan Benjamin of Petrograd, Priest and scientist Pavel Florensky
Pavel Florensky
Pavel Alexandrovich Florensky was a Russian Orthodox theologian, philosopher, mathematician, electrical engineer, inventor and Neomartyr sometimes compared by his followers to Leonardo da Vinci.-Early life:Pavel Aleksandrovich Florensky was born on January 21, 1882, into the family of a railroad...

 and Bishop Gorazd Pavlik
Gorazd (Pavlik) of Prague
Bishop Gorazd of Prague, given name Matěj Pavlík , was the hierarch of the revived Orthodox Church in Moravia, the Church of Czechoslovakia, after World War I...

.

The Soviet Union was the first state to have as an ideological objective the elimination of religion. Toward that end, the Communist regime confiscated church property, ridiculed religion, harassed believers, and propagated atheism in the schools. Actions toward particular religions, however, were determined by State interests, and most organized religions were never outlawed. It is estimated that 500,000 Russian Orthodox Christians were martyred in the gulag
Gulag
The Gulag was the government agency that administered the main Soviet forced labor camp systems. While the camps housed a wide range of convicts, from petty criminals to political prisoners, large numbers were convicted by simplified procedures, such as NKVD troikas and other instruments of...

s by the Soviet government, not including torture or other Christian denominations killed.

Some actions against Orthodox priests and believers along with execution included torture
Torture
Torture is the act of inflicting severe pain as a means of punishment, revenge, forcing information or a confession, or simply as an act of cruelty. Throughout history, torture has often been used as a method of political re-education, interrogation, punishment, and coercion...

 being sent to prison camps, labour camps
Sharashka
Sharashka was an informal name for secret research and development laboratories in the Soviet Gulag labor camp system...

 or mental hospitals
Psikhushka
In the Soviet Union, systematic political abuse of psychiatry took place. Soviet psychiatric hospitals were used by the authorities as prisons in order to isolate hundreds or thousands of political prisoners from the rest of society, discredit their ideas, and break them physically and mentally...

.
The result of state sponsored atheism
State atheism
State atheism is the official "promotion of atheism" by a government, sometimes combined with active suppression of religious freedom and practice...

 was to transform the Church into a persecuted and martyred Church. In the first five years after the Bolshevik revolution, 28 bishops and 1,200 priests were executed.

The main target of the anti-religious campaign in the 1920s and 1930s was the Russian Orthodox Church, which had the largest number of faithful. A very large segment of its clergy, and many of its believers, were shot or sent to labor camps. Theological schools were closed, and church publications were prohibited. In the period between 1927 and 1940, the number of Orthodox Churches in the Russian Republic fell from 29,584 to less than 500. Between 1917 and 1940, 130,000 Orthodox priests were arrested.
The widespread persecution and internecine disputes within the church hierarchy lead to the seat of Patriarch of Moscow being vacant from 1925–1943.

After Nazi Germany's attack on the Soviet Union in 1941, Joseph Stalin revived the Russian Orthodox Church to intensify patriotic support for the war effort. By 1957 about 22,000 Russian Orthodox churches had become active. But in 1959 Nikita Khrushchev initiated his own campaign against the Russian Orthodox Church and forced the closure of about 12,000 churches. By 1985 fewer than 7,000 churches remained active.

In the Soviet Union, in addition to the methodical closing and destruction of churches, the charitable and social work formerly done by ecclesiastical authorities was taken over by the state. As with all private property, Church owned property was confiscated into public use. The few places of worship left to the Church were legally viewed as state property which the government permitted the church to use. After the advent of state funded universal education, the Church was not permitted to carry on educational, instructional activity for children. For adults, only training for church-related occupations was allowed. Outside of sermons during the celebration of the divine liturgy it could not instruct or evangelise to the faithful or its youth. Catechism classes, religious schools, study groups, Sunday schools and religious publications were all illegal and or banned. This caused many religious tracts to be circulated as illegal literature or samizdat
Samizdat
Samizdat was a key form of dissident activity across the Soviet bloc in which individuals reproduced censored publications by hand and passed the documents from reader to reader...

. This persecution continued, even after the death of Stalin until the dissolution of the Soviet Union
Dissolution of the Soviet Union
The dissolution of the Soviet Union was the disintegration of the federal political structures and central government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , resulting in the independence of all fifteen republics of the Soviet Union between March 11, 1990 and December 25, 1991...

 in 1991. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the Russian Orthodox Church has recognized a number of New Martyrs as saints, some executed during Mass operations of the NKVD
Mass operations of the NKVD
Mass operations of the NKVD were carried out during the Great Purge and targeted specific categories of people. As a rule, they were carried out according to the corresponding order of the People's Commissar of Internal Affairs Nikolai Yezhov....

 under directives like NKVD Order No. 00447.

19th and 20th century Mexico

In the 19th century, Mexican President Benito Juárez
Benito Juárez
Benito Juárez born Benito Pablo Juárez García, was a Mexican lawyer and politician of Zapotec origin from Oaxaca who served five terms as president of Mexico: 1858–1861 as interim, 1861–1865, 1865–1867, 1867–1871 and 1871–1872...

 confiscated church lands. The Mexican government's campaign against the Catholic Church after the Mexican Revolution
Mexican Revolution
The Mexican Revolution was a major armed struggle that started in 1910, with an uprising led by Francisco I. Madero against longtime autocrat Porfirio Díaz. The Revolution was characterized by several socialist, liberal, anarchist, populist, and agrarianist movements. Over time the Revolution...

 culminated in the 1917 constitution which contained numerous articles which Catholics perceived as violating their civil rights: outlawing monastic religious orders, forbidding public worship outside of church buildings, restricted religious organizations' rights to own property, and taking away basic civil rights of members of the clergy (priests and religious leaders were prevented from wearing their habits, were denied the right to vote, and were not permitted to comment on public affairs in the press and were denied the right to trial for violation of anticlerical laws). When the first embassy of the Soviet Union in any country was opened in Mexico, the Soviet ambassador remarked that "no other two countries show more similarities than the Soviet Union and Mexico".

When the Church publicly condemned the anticlerical measures which had not been strongly enforced, the atheist President Plutarco Calles sought to vigorously enforce the provisions and enacted additional anti-Catholic legislation known as the Calles Law. At this time, some in the United States government, considering Calles' regime Bolshevik
Bolshevik
The Bolsheviks, originally also Bolshevists , derived from bol'shinstvo, "majority") were a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party which split apart from the Menshevik faction at the Second Party Congress in 1903....

, started to refer to Mexico as "Soviet Mexico".

Weary of the persecution, in many parts of the country a popular rebellion called the Cristero War
Cristero War
The Cristero War of 1926 to 1929 was an uprising and counter-revolution against the Mexican government in power at that time. The rebellion was set off by the strict enforcement of the anti-clerical provisions of the Mexican Constitution of 1917 and the expansion of further anti-clerical laws...

 began (so named because the rebels felt they were fighting for Christ himself). The effects of the persecution on the Church were profound. Between 1926 and 1934 at least 40 priests were killed. Where there were 4,500 priests serving the people before the rebellion, in 1934 there were only 334 priests licensed by the government to serve fifteen million people, the rest having been eliminated by emigration, expulsion and assassination. By 1935, 17 states had no priest at all. In the second Cristero rebellion (1932), the Cristeros took particular exception to the socialist education, which Calles had also implemented but which President Cardenas had added to the 1917 Mexican Constitution.

Anti-Mormonism

The Latter Day Saint Movement
Latter Day Saint movement
The Latter Day Saint movement is a group of independent churches tracing their origin to a Christian primitivist movement founded by Joseph Smith, Jr. in the late 1820s. Collectively, these churches have over 14 million members...

, (Mormons
Mormons
The Mormons are a religious and cultural group related to Mormonism, a religion started by Joseph Smith during the American Second Great Awakening. A vast majority of Mormons are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while a minority are members of other independent churches....

) have been persecuted since their founding in the 1830s. This persecution drove them from New York and Ohio
Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

 to Missouri
Missouri
Missouri is a US state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2010 population of 5,988,927, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It...

, where they continued to suffer violent attacks. In 1838, Gov. Lilburn Boggs
Lilburn Boggs
Lilburn Williams Boggs was the sixth Governor of Missouri from 1836 to 1840. He is now most widely remembered for his interactions with Joseph Smith and Porter Rockwell, and Missouri Executive Order 44, known by Mormons as the "Extermination Order", issued in response to the ongoing conflict...

 declared that Mormons had made war on the state of Missouri, and "must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the state"

The Mormons subsequently fled to Nauvoo
Nauvoo, Illinois
Nauvoo is a small city in Hancock County, Illinois, United States. Although the population was just 1,063 at the 2000 census, and despite being difficult to reach due to its location in a remote corner of Illinois, Nauvoo attracts large numbers of visitors for its historic importance and its...

, Illinois, where hostilities again escalated. In Carthage, Ill., where Joseph Smith
Joseph Smith
Joseph Smith was founder of what later became known as the Latter Day Saint movement or Mormons.Joseph Smith may also refer to:-Latter Day Saints:* Joseph Smith, Sr. , father of Joseph Smith...

 was being held on the charge of treason, a mob stormed the jail and killed him. Smith's brother, Hyrum, was also killed. After a succession crisis, most united under Brigham Young
Brigham Young
Brigham Young was an American leader in the Latter Day Saint movement and a settler of the Western United States. He was the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1847 until his death in 1877, he founded Salt Lake City, and he served as the first governor of the Utah...

, who organized an evacuation from the United States after the federal government refused to protect them. 70,000 Mormon pioneers crossed the Great Plains
Great Plains
The Great Plains are a broad expanse of flat land, much of it covered in prairie, steppe and grassland, which lies west of the Mississippi River and east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States and Canada. This area covers parts of the U.S...

 to settle in the Salt Lake Valley
Salt Lake Valley
Salt Lake Valley is a valley in Salt Lake County in the north-central portion of the U.S. state of Utah. It contains Salt Lake City and many of its suburbs, notably West Valley City, Murray, Sandy, and West Jordan; its total population is 1,029,655 as of 2010...

 and surrounding areas. After the Mexican-American War, the area became the US territory of Utah
Utah Territory
The Territory of Utah was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from September 9, 1850, until January 4, 1896, when the final extent of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Utah....

. Over the next 46 years several actions by the federal government were directed against Mormons in the Mormon Corridor
Mormon Corridor
The Mormon Corridor is a term for the areas of Western North America that were settled between 1850 and approximately 1890 by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints , who are commonly known as Mormons....

, including the Utah War
Utah War
The Utah War, also known as the Utah Expedition, Buchanan's Blunder, the Mormon War, or the Mormon Rebellion was an armed confrontation between LDS settlers in the Utah Territory and the armed forces of the United States government. The confrontation lasted from May 1857 until July 1858...

, Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act
Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act
The Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act was a federal enactment of the United States Congress that was signed into law on July 8, 1862 by President Abraham Lincoln...

, Poland Act
Poland Act
The Poland Act of 1874 was an act of the United States Congress which sought to facilitate prosecutions under the Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act by eliminating the control members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints exerted over the justice system of Utah Territory. Sponsored by Senator...

, Reynolds v. United States
Reynolds v. United States
Reynolds v. United States, , was a Supreme Court of the United States case that held that religious duty was not a suitable defense to a criminal indictment...

, Edmunds Act
Edmunds Act
The Edmunds Act, also known as the Edmunds Anti-Polygamy Act of 1882, is a United States federal statute, signed into law on March 23, 1882, declaring polygamy a felony. The act is named for U.S. Senator George F. Edmunds of Vermont...

, and Edmunds-Tucker Act
Edmunds-Tucker Act
The Edmunds–Tucker Act of 1887 was passed in response to the dispute between the United States Congress and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints regarding polygamy. The act is found in US Code Title 48 & 1461, full text as 24 Stat. 635, with this annotation to be interpreted as Volume...

.

Madagascar

Queen Ranavalona I
Ranavalona I
Ranavalona I , also known as Ranavalo-Manjaka I, was a sovereign of the Kingdom of Madagascar from 1828 to 1861...

 (reigned 1828–1861) issued a royal edict prohibiting the practice of Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 in Madagascar
Madagascar
The Republic of Madagascar is an island country located in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa...

, expelled British missionaries from the island, and sought to stem the growth of conversion to Christianity within her realm. Approximately 60–80 Malagasy citizens were put to death during this period as a consequence of their refusal to recant their Christian faith. Far more, however, were punished in other ways: many were required to undergo the tangena
Tangena
Tangena is the name given in the highland dialect of the Malagasy language to an indigenous tree distinguished by the high toxicity of the nuts it produces, which have been used historically on the island of Madagascar for trials by ordeal to determine the guilt or innocence of an accused party...

ordeal, while others were condemned to hard labor or the confiscation of their land and property, and many of these consequently died. The tangena ordeal was commonly administered to determine the guilt or innocence of an accused person for any crime, including the practice of Christianity, and involved ingestion of the poison contained within the nut of the tangena tree (Cerbera odollam
Cerbera odollam
Cerbera odollam, commonly known as the Suicide tree, Pong-pong, and Othalanga, is a species of tree native to India and other parts of Southern Asia. It grows preferentially in coastal salt swamps and in marshy areas. It grows wild along the coast in many parts of Kerala, India and has been grown...

). Survivors were deemed innocent, while those who perished were assumed guilty. Malagasy
Malagasy people
The Malagasy ethnic group forms nearly the entire population of Madagascar. They are divided into two subgroups: the "Highlander" Merina, Sihanaka and Betsileo of the central plateau around Antananarivo, Alaotra and Fianarantsoa, and the côtiers elsewhere in the country. This division has its...

 Christians would remember this period as ny tany maizina, or "the time when the land was dark". Persecution of Christians intensified in 1840, 1849 and 1857; in 1849, deemed the worst of these years by British missionary to Madagascar W.E. Cummins (1878), 1,900 people were fined, jailed or otherwise punished in relation to their Christian faith, including 18 executions.

Spain - Anti-Catholicism

Persecution of Catholics mostly, before and at the beginning, of the Spanish Civil war (1936-1939), involved the murder of almost 7,000 priests and other clergy, as well as thousands of lay people, by sections of nearly all the leftist groups because of their faith. The Republican government which had come to power in Spain in 1931 was strongly anti-Catholic, prohibiting religious education – even in private school, prohibiting any education by religious orders, seizing Church property and expelling the Jesuits from the country. On 3 June 1933 Pope Pius XI
Pope Pius XI
Pope Pius XI , born Ambrogio Damiano Achille Ratti, was Pope from 6 February 1922, and sovereign of Vatican City from its creation as an independent state on 11 February 1929 until his death on 10 February 1939...

 issued the encyclical Dilectissima Nobis
Dilectissima Nobis
Dilectissima Nobis: On Oppression Of The Church Of Spain is an encyclical issued by Pope Pius XI on June 3, 1933 in which he decried persecution of the Church in Spain, specifically naming the expropriation of all Church buildings, episcopal residences, parish houses, seminaries and...

, in which he described the expropriation of all Church buildings, episcopal residences, parish houses, seminaries and monasteries. By law, they became property of the Spanish State, to which the Church had to pay rent and taxes in order to continuously use these properties. "Thus the Catholic Church is compelled to pay taxes on what was violently taken from her" Religious vestments, liturgical instruments, statues, pictures, vases, gems and similar objects necessary for worship were expropriated as well or desecrated. Numerous churches and temples were destroyed by burning, after they were nationalized. All private Catholic schools from religious order
Religious order
A religious order is a lineage of communities and organizations of people who live in some way set apart from society in accordance with their specific religious devotion, usually characterized by the principles of its founder's religious practice. The order is composed of initiates and, in some...

s and Congregations were expropriated. The purpose was to create solely secular schools there instead. Pope Pius XI
Pope Pius XI
Pope Pius XI , born Ambrogio Damiano Achille Ratti, was Pope from 6 February 1922, and sovereign of Vatican City from its creation as an independent state on 11 February 1929 until his death on 10 February 1939...

, who faced similar persecutions in the USSR and Mexico, called on Spanish Catholics to defend themselves against the persecution with all legal means.

During the Spanish Civil War of 1936–1939, and especially in the early months of the conflict, individual clergymen and entire religious communities were executed by leftists, which included communists and anarchists. The death toll of the clergy
Martyrs of the Spanish Civil War
Martyrs of the Spanish Civil War is the name given by the Catholic Church to the people who were killed by Republicans during the war because of their faith. As of July 2008, almost one thousand Spanish martyrs have been beatified or canonized...

 alone included 13 bishops, 4,172 diocesan priests and seminarians, 2,364 monks and friars and 283 nuns, for a total of 6,832 clerical victims.

In addition to murders of clergy and the faithful, destruction of churches and desecration of sacred sites and objects were widespread. On the night of 19 July 1936 alone, some fifty churches were burned. In Barcelona
Barcelona
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid, and the capital of Catalonia, with a population of 1,621,537 within its administrative limits on a land area of...

, out of the 58 churches, only the Cathedral was spared, and similar desecrations occurred almost everywhere in Republican Spain.

Exceptions were Biscay
Biscay
Biscay is a province of Spain and a historical territory of the Basque Country, heir of the ancient Lord of Biscay. Its capital city is Bilbao...

 and Guipuscoa
Guipuscoa
Gipuzkoa is a province of Spain and a historical territory of the Basque Country. Its capital city is Donostia-San Sebastián. It limits with the French department of Pyrénées-Atlantiques at the northeast, with the province and autonomous community of Navarre at east, Biscay at west, Álava at...

 where the Christian Democratic Basque Nationalist Party
Basque Nationalist Party
The Basque National Party is the largest and oldest Basque nationalist party. It is currently the largest political party in the Basque Autonomous Community also with a minor presence in Navarre and a marginal one in the French Basque Country...

, after some hesitation, supported the Republic while halting persecution in the areas held by the Basque Government
Basque Government
The Basque Government is the governing body of the Basque Autonomous Community of Spain. The head of this government is the lehendakari or Basque president that is appointed by the Basque Parliament every four years...

.
All Catholic churches in the Republican zone were closed. The desecration was not limited to Catholic churches, as synagogues and Protestant churches were also pillaged and closed. Some small Protestant churches were spared.

The terror has been called the "most extensive and violent persecution of Catholicism in Western History, in some way even more intense than that of the French Revolution
Dechristianisation of France during the French Revolution
The dechristianisation of France during the French Revolution is a conventional description of the results of a number of separate policies, conducted by various governments of France between the start of the French Revolution in 1789 and the Concordat of 1801, forming the basis of the later and...

."
The persecution drove Catholics to the Nationalists, even more than would have been expected, as these defended their religious interests and survival.

Spain - Anti-Protestantism

In Franco's
Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco y Bahamonde was a Spanish general, dictator and head of state of Spain from October 1936 , and de facto regent of the nominally restored Kingdom of Spain from 1947 until his death in November, 1975...

 authoritarian Spanish State
Spanish State
Francoist Spain refers to a period of Spanish history between 1936 and 1975 when Spain was under the authoritarian dictatorship of Francisco Franco....

 (1936-1975), Protestantism was deliberately marginalized and persecuted. During the Civil War, Franco's regime persecuted the country's 30,000
Protestants, and forced many Protestant pastors to leave the country. Once authoritarian rule was established, non-Catholic Bibles were confiscated by police and Protestant schools were closed. Although the 1945 Spanish Bill of Rights granted freedom of private worship, Protestants suffered legal discrimination and non-Catholic religious services were not permitted publicly, to the extent that they could not be in buildings which had exterior signs indicating it was a house of worship and that public activities were prohibited.

While the Catholic Church was declared official and enjoyed a close relation to the state, parts of the Basque clergy harbored nationalist ideas
Basque nationalism
Basque nationalism is a political movement advocating for either further political autonomy or, chiefly, full independence of the Basque Country in the wider sense...

 opposed to Spanish centralism and were persecuted and imprisoned in a "Concordate jail" reserved for criminal clergy.

Nazi Germany

Hitler and the Nazis enjoyed widespread support from traditional Christian communities, mainly due to a common cause against the anti-religious German Bolsheviks. Once in power, the Nazis moved to consolidate their power over the German churches and bring them in line with Nazi ideals.

The Third Reich founded their own version of Christianity called Positive Christianity
Positive Christianity
Positive Christianity was a slogan of Nazi propaganda adopted at the NSDAP congress 1920 to express a worldview which is Christian, non-confessional, vigorously opposed to the spirit of "Jewish Materialism", and oriented to the principle of voluntary association of those with a common...

 which made major changes in its interpretation of the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

 which said that Jesus Christ was the son of God, but was not a Jew and claimed that Christ despised Jews, and that the Jews were the ones solely responsible for Christ's death. Thus, the Nazi government consolidated religious power, using allies to consolidate Protestant churches into the Protestant Reich Church
Protestant Reich Church
The Protestant Reich Church, officially German Evangelical Church and colloquially Reichskirche, was formed in 1936 to merge the 28 regional churches into a unified state church that espoused a single doctrine compatible with National Socialism...

, which was effectively an arm of the Nazi Party.

Dissenting Christians went underground and formed the Confessing Church
Confessing Church
The Confessing Church was a Protestant schismatic church in Nazi Germany that arose in opposition to government-sponsored efforts to nazify the German Protestant church.-Demographics:...

, which was persecuted
Kirchenkampf
Kirchenkampf is a German term that translates as "struggle of the churches" or "church struggle" in English. The term is sometimes used ambiguously, and may refer to one or more of the following different church struggles:...

 as a subversive group by the Nazi government. Many of its leaders were arrested and sent to concentration camps, and left the underground mostly leaderless. Church members continued to engage in various forms of resistance, including hiding Jews during the Holocaust and various attempts, largely unsuccessful, to prod the Christian community to speak out on the part of the Jews.

The Catholic Church was particularly suppressed in Poland because of the Church's opposition to many of Nazi Party's beliefs. Between 1939 and 1945, an estimated 3,000 members, 18% of the Polish clergy, were murdered; of these, 1,992 died in concentration camps. In the annexed territory of Reichsgau Wartheland it was even harsher than elsewhere. Churches were systematically closed, and most priests were either killed, imprisoned, or deported to the General Government
General Government
The General Government was an area of Second Republic of Poland under Nazi German rule during World War II; designated as a separate region of the Third Reich between 1939–1945...

. The Germans also closed seminaries and convents persecuting monks and nuns throughout Poland. In Pomerania
Pomerania
Pomerania is a historical region on the south shore of the Baltic Sea. Divided between Germany and Poland, it stretches roughly from the Recknitz River near Stralsund in the West, via the Oder River delta near Szczecin, to the mouth of the Vistula River near Gdańsk in the East...

, all but 20 of the 650 priests were shot or sent to concentration camps. Eighty percent of the Catholic clergy and five of the bishops of Warthegau were sent to concentration camps in 1939; in the city of Breslau (Wrocław), 49% of its Catholic priests were killed; in Chełmno, 48%. One hundred eight of them are regarded as blessed martyrs. Among them, Maximilian Kolbe
Maximilian Kolbe
Saint Maximilian Maria Kolbe OFM Conv was a Polish Conventual Franciscan friar, who volunteered to die in place of a stranger in the Nazi German concentration camp of Auschwitz, located in German-occupied Poland during World War II.He was canonized on 10 October 1982 by Pope John Paul II, and...

 was canonized as a saint.

Protestants in Poland did not fare well either. In the Cieszyn region of Silesia every single Protestant clergy was arrested and deported to the death camps.

Not only were Polish Christians persecuted by the Nazis, in the Dachau concentration camp alone, 2,600 Catholic priests from 24 different countries were killed.

Outside mainstream Christianity, Jehovah's Witnesses
Persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses
Throughout Jehovah's Witnesses' history, their beliefs, doctrines and practices have engendered controversy and opposition from local governments, communities, and religious groups....

 were direct targets of the Holocaust, for their refusal to swear allegiance to the Nazi government. Many Jehovah's Witnesses were given the chance to deny their faith and swear allegiance to the state, but few agreed. Over 12,000 Witnesses were sent to the concentration camps, and estimated 2,500–5,000 died in the Holocaust.

Jehovah's Witnesses

Since Charles Taze Russell
Charles Taze Russell
Charles Taze Russell , or Pastor Russell, was a prominent early 20th century Christian restorationist minister from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, and founder of what is now known as the Bible Student movement, from which Jehovah's Witnesses and numerous independent Bible Student groups emerged...

's Bible Students
Bible Students
Bible Students refers to followers of the Bible Student movement and a number of related religious communities:* Dawn Bible Students Association* Free Bible Students* Jehovah's Witnesses* Laymen's Home Missionary Movement...

 group had formed after the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

 there was no formal position on military service till 1914, when the body came out against military service. Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses is a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The religion reports worldwide membership of over 7 million adherents involved in evangelism, convention attendance of over 12 million, and annual...

 are forbidden by their religion to engage in violence, or to join the military.

In Nazi Germany in the 1930s and early 1940s, Jehovah's Witnesses refused to renounce political neutrality and were placed in concentration camps
Persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses in Nazi Germany
Jehovah's Witnesses were persecuted in Nazi Germany between 1933 and 1945. Members of the religious group refused to serve in the German military or give allegiance to the Nazi government, for which hundreds were executed. An estimated 10,000 were sent to concentration camps where approximately...

 as a result. The Nazi government gave detained Jehovah's Witnesses the option of release by signing a document indicating renouncement of their faith, submission to state authority, and support of the German military.

Historian Hans Hesse said, "Some five thousand Jehovah's Witnesses were sent to concentration camps where they alone were 'voluntary prisoners', so termed because the moment they recanted their views, they could be freed. Some lost their lives in the camps, but few renounced their faith".

Political and religious animosity against Jehovah's Witnesses has at times led to mob action
Mob Action
Mob Action is a clothing label based in Leipzig, Germany. The name is synonymous with riot, outlining the company's political appeal....

 and government
Government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

 oppression in various countries, including Cuba
Human rights in Cuba
Human Rights Watch is among international human rights organizations accusing the Cuban government of systematic human rights abuses, including torture, arbitrary imprisonment, unfair trials, and extrajudicial execution....

, the United States
Persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses in the United States
Throughout the history of Jehovah's Witnesses, their beliefs, doctrines and practices have engendered controversy and opposition from governments, communities, and religious groups. Many Christian denominations consider their doctrines to be heretical, and some religious leaders have labeled...

, Canada
Persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses in Canada
Jehovah's Witnesses experienced religious persecution in Canada during both world wars because of their evangelical fervour, conspicuous abstinence from patriotic exercises and conscientious objection to military service....

 and Singapore. The religion's doctrine of political neutrality has led to imprisonment of members who refused conscription (for example in Britain
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 and afterwards during the period of compulsory national service
National service
National service is a common name for mandatory government service programmes . The term became common British usage during and for some years following the Second World War. Many young people spent one or more years in such programmes...

).

Current situation (1989 to present)

According to Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
Benedict XVI is the 265th and current Pope, by virtue of his office of Bishop of Rome, the Sovereign of the Vatican City State and the leader of the Catholic Church as well as the other 22 sui iuris Eastern Catholic Churches in full communion with the Holy See...

, Christians are the most persecuted group in the contemporary world. According to the World Evangelical Alliance, over 200 million Christians in at least 60 countries are denied fundamental human rights solely because of their faith. Persecutions occur in North Korea, many Muslim countries, India, China, Vietnam, and the Philippines.

Afghanistan

In Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, Abdul Rahman
Abdul Rahman (convert)
Abdul Rahman was an Afghan citizen who was arrested in February 2006 and threatened with the death penalty for converting to Christianity. On March 26, 2006, under heavy pressure from foreign governments, the court returned his case to prosecutors, citing "investigative gaps". He was released...

, a 41-year-old citizen, was charged in 2006 with rejecting Islam (apostasy
Apostasy in Islam
Apostasy in Islam is commonly defined in Islam as the rejection in word or deed of one's former religion by a person who was previously a follower of Islam...

), a crime punishable by death under Sharia
Sharia
Sharia law, is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Fiqh jurisprudence interprets and extends the application of sharia to...

 law. He has since been released into exile in the West under intense pressure from Western governments.
In 2008, the Taliban killed a British charity worker, Gayle Williams
Gayle Williams
Gayle Williams was an aid worker for SERVE Afghanistan of joint British and South African nationality. She was shot on her way to work in Kabul, Afghanistan by two men on a motorbike...

, "because she was working for an organisation which was preaching Christianity in Afghanistan" even though she was extremely careful not to try to convert Afghans.

Albania/Kosovo

Algeria

On the night of 26–27 March 1996, seven monks from the monastery of Tibhirine in Algeria
Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

, belonging to the Roman Catholic Trappist
TRAPPIST
TRAPPIST is Belgian robotic telescope in Chile which came online in 2010, and is an acronym for TRAnsiting Planets and PlanetesImals Small Telescope, so named in homage to Trappist beer produced in the Belgian region. Situated high in the Chilean mountains at La Silla Observatory, it is actually...

 Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (O.C.S.O.), were kidnapped in the Algerian Civil War
Algerian Civil War
The Algerian Civil War was an armed conflict between the Algerian government and various Islamist rebel groups which began in 1991. It is estimated to have cost between 150,000 and 200,000 lives, in a population of about 25,010,000 in 1990 and 31,193,917 in 2000.More than 70 journalists were...

. They were held for two months, and were found dead on 21 May 1996. The circumstances of their kidnapping and death remain controversial; the Armed Islamic Group
Armed Islamic Group
The Armed Islamic Group is an Islamist organisation that wants to overthrow the Algerian government and replace it with an Islamic state...

 (GIA) claims responsibility for both, but the then French military attaché, retired General Francois Buchwalter, reports that they were accidentally killed by the Algerian army in a rescue attempt, and claims have been made that the GIA itself was a cat's paw of Algeria's secret services (DRS
Département du Renseignement et de la Sécurité
The Department of Intelligence and Security is the Algerian state intelligence service. Its existence dates back to the struggle for independence.-Formation:...

).

Islamists looted, and burned to the ground, a Pentecostal church in Tizi Ouzou on 9 January 2010. The pastor was quoted as saying that worshipers fled when local police left a gang of local rioters unchecked.

Egypt

While the Egyptian government does not have a policy to persecute Christians, it discriminates against them and hampers their freedom of worship. Its agencies sporadically persecute Muslim converts to Christianity. The government enforces Hamayouni Decree
Hamayouni Decree
The Hamayoni Decree, also "Hamayonic", or "Hamayouni" , is a clause in the Egyptian law, dating back from Ottoman rule that regulates Church construction and maintenance. It is currently a cause of much controversy due to the conditions that need to be fulfilled in order for the permit to be granted...

 restrictions on building or repairing churches. These same restrictions, however, do not apply to mosques.

The government has effectively restricted Christians from senior government, diplomatic, military, and educational positions, and there has been increasing discrimination in the private sector. The government subsidizes media which attack Christianity and restricts Christians access to the state-controlled media.

In Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 the government does not officially recognize conversions from Islam to Christianity; because certain interfaith marriages are not allowed either, this prevents marriages between converts to Christianity and those born in Christian communities, and also results in the children of Christian converts being classified as Muslims and given a Muslim education. The government also applies religiously discriminatory laws and practices concerning clergy salaries.

Foreign missionaries are allowed in the country only if they restrict their activities to social improvements and refrain from proselytizing. The Coptic
Coptic Christianity
The Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria is the official name for the largest Christian church in Egypt and the Middle East. The Church belongs to the Oriental Orthodox family of churches, which has been a distinct church body since the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451, when it took a different...

 Pope Shenouda III was internally exiled in 1981 by President Anwar Sadat
Anwar Sadat
Muhammad Anwar al-Sadat was the third President of Egypt, serving from 15 October 1970 until his assassination by fundamentalist army officers on 6 October 1981...

, who then chose five Coptic bishops and asked them to choose a new pope. They refused, and in 1985 President Hosni Mubarak
Hosni Mubarak
Muhammad Hosni Sayyid Mubarak is a former Egyptian politician and military commander. He served as the fourth President of Egypt from 1981 to 2011....

 restored Pope Shenouda III, who had been accused of fomenting interconfessional strife. Particularly in Upper Egypt, the rise in extremist Islamist groups such as the Gama'at Islamiya during the 1980s was accompanied by attacks on Copts and on Coptic churches; these have since declined with the decline of those organizations, but still continue. The police have been accused of siding with the attackers in some of these cases.

Many colleges dictate quotas for Coptic students, often around 1 or 2% despite the group making up 15% of the country's population. There is also a separate tax-funded education system called Al Azhar, catering to students from elementary to college level, which accepts no Christian Coptic students, teachers or administrators.

Hundreds of Christian Coptic girls have been kidnapped and forcibly converted to Islam, as well as being victims of rape and forced marriage to Muslim men.

On 2 January 2000, at least 21 Christians were killed by Muslims in Al Kosheh in southern Egypt. Christian properties were also burned.

In April 2006, one person was killed and twelve injured in simultaneous knife attacks on three Coptic churches in Alexandria.

In November 2008, several thousand Muslims attacked a Coptic church in a suburb of Cairo on the day of its inauguration, forcing 800 Coptic Christians to barricade themselves in.

In April 2009, two Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 men were shot dead and another was injured by Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 men after an Easter
Easter
Easter is the central feast in the Christian liturgical year. According to the Canonical gospels, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. His resurrection is celebrated on Easter Day or Easter Sunday...

 vigil in the south of Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

.

On 18 September 2009, a Muslim man called Osama Araban beheaded a Coptic Christian man in the village of Bagour, and injured 2 others in 2 different villages. He was arrested the following day.

On the eve of 7 January 2010, after the Eastern Christmas
Christmas
Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual holiday generally celebrated on December 25 by billions of people around the world. It is a Christian feast that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, liturgically closing the Advent season and initiating the season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days...

 Mass finished (which finishes around midnight), Copts were going out of Mar-Yuhanna (St. John) church in Nag Hammadi
Nag Hammâdi
Nag Hammadi , is a city in Upper Egypt. Nag Hammadi was known as Chenoboskion in classical antiquity, meaning "geese grazing grounds". It is located on the west bank of the Nile in the Qena Governorate, about 80 kilometres north-west of Luxor....

 city when three Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 men in a car near the church opened fire killing 8 Christians and injuring another 10.

On 2011 New Year's Eve, just 20 minutes after midnight as Christians were leaving a Coptic Orthodox Church in the city of Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

 after a New Year's Eve service a car bomb exploded in front of the Church killing more than 20 and injuring more than 75.

On 7 May 2011, an armed group of Islamists, including Salafi
Salafi
A Salafi come from Sunni Islam is a follower of an Islamic movement, Salafiyyah, that is supposed to take the Salaf who lived during the patristic period of early Islam as model examples...

sts, attacked and set fire to two churches including Saint Menas
Saint Menas
Saint Menas , the Martyr and Wonder-worker, is one of the most well-known Egyptian saints in the East and the West, due to the many miracles that are attributed to his intercession and prayers...

 Coptic Orthodox Christian Church and the Coptic Church of the Holy Virgin, in Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

. The attacks resulted in the deaths of 12 people and more than 230 wounded. It is reported that the events were triggered by a mixed marriage between a Christian woman and a Muslim man.

Indonesia

In Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

, religious conflicts have typically occurred in Western New Guinea
Western New Guinea
West Papua informally refers to the Indonesian western half of the island of New Guinea and other smaller islands to its west. The region is officially administered as two provinces: Papua and West Papua. The eastern half of New Guinea is Papua New Guinea.The population of approximately 3 million...

, Maluku
Maluku Islands
The Maluku Islands are an archipelago that is part of Indonesia, and part of the larger Maritime Southeast Asia region. Tectonically they are located on the Halmahera Plate within the Molucca Sea Collision Zone...

 (particularly Ambon
Ambon Island
Ambon Island is part of the Maluku Islands of Indonesia. The island has an area of , and is mountainous, well watered, and fertile. Ambon Island consists of 2 territories: The main city and seaport is Ambon , which is also the capital of Maluku province and Maluku Tengah Ambon Island is part of the...

), and Sulawesi
Sulawesi
Sulawesi is one of the four larger Sunda Islands of Indonesia and is situated between Borneo and the Maluku Islands. In Indonesia, only Sumatra, Borneo, and Papua are larger in territory, and only Java and Sumatra have larger Indonesian populations.- Etymology :The Portuguese were the first to...

. The presence of Muslims in these regions is in part a result of the transmigrasi program of population re-distribution. Conflicts have often occurred because of the aims of radical Islamist organizations such as Jemaah Islamiah or Laskar Jihad
Laskar Jihad
Laskar Jihad , was an Islamist and anti-Christian Indonesian militia, which was founded and led by Jafar Umar Thalib. At present, the militia is believed to have disbanded.-History:...

 to impose Sharia
Sharia
Sharia law, is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Fiqh jurisprudence interprets and extends the application of sharia to...

, with such groups attacking Christians and destroying over 600 churches. In 2006 three Christian girls were beheaded as retaliation for previous Muslim deaths in Christian-Muslim rioting. The men were imprisoned for the murders, including Jemaah Islamiyah's district ringleader Hasanuddin. On going to jail, Hasanuddin said, "It's not a problem (if I am being sentenced to prison), because this is a part of our struggle."

In January 1999, anti-Christian violence erupted by local Muslims. "Tens of thousands died when Moslem gunmen terrorized Christians who had voted for independence in East Timor."

Iran

Though Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 recognizes Assyrian
Assyrian people
The Assyrian people are a distinct ethnic group whose origins lie in ancient Mesopotamia...

 and Armenian Christians as ethnic and religious minorities (along with Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

 and Zoroastrians) and they have representatives in the Parliament
Majlis of Iran
The National Consultative Assembly of Iran , also called The Iranian Parliament or People's House, is the national legislative body of Iran...

, after the 1979 Revolution
Iranian Revolution
The Iranian Revolution refers to events involving the overthrow of Iran's monarchy under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and its replacement with an Islamic republic under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the...

, Muslim converts to Christianity (typically to Protestant Christianity) have been arrested and sometimes executed. Youcef Nadarkhani
Youcef Nadarkhani
Youcef Nadarkhani is an Iranian Christian pastor who has been sentenced to die in Tehran...

 is an Iranian Christian pastor who has been sentenced to death for refusing to recant his faith. See also: Christianity in Iran
Christianity in Iran
Christianity in Iran has a long history, dating back to the early years of the faith. It has always been a minority religion, with the majority state religions — Zoroastrianism before the Islamic conquest, Sunni Islam in the Middle Ages and Shia Islam in modern times — though it had a much larger...

.

Iraq

According to UNHCR, although Christians (almost exclusively ethnic Assyrians
Assyrian people
The Assyrian people are a distinct ethnic group whose origins lie in ancient Mesopotamia...

 and Armenians
Armenians
Armenian people or Armenians are a nation and ethnic group native to the Armenian Highland.The largest concentration is in Armenia having a nearly-homogeneous population with 97.9% or 3,145,354 being ethnic Armenian....

) represent less than 5% of the total Iraqi population, they make up 40% of the refugees now living in nearby countries. Northern Iraq remained predominantly Assyrian
Assyrian
-In antiquity:*ancient Assyria**the Old Assyrian period **the Middle Assyrian period **the Neo-Assyrian period *Either of two provinces of the Persian Empire:**Achaemenid Assyria...

, Aramaic speaking and Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 until the destructions of Tamerlane at the end of the 14th century. The Assyrian Church of the East
Assyrian Church of the East
The Assyrian Church of the East, officially the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East ʻIttā Qaddishtā w-Shlikhāitā Qattoliqi d-Madnĕkhā d-Āturāyē), is a Syriac Church historically centered in Mesopotamia. It is one of the churches that claim continuity with the historical...

 has its origin in what is now South East Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 and Assuristan (Sassanid Assyria
Assyria
Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

). By the end of the 13th century there were twelve Nestorian dioceses in a strip from Peking to Samarkand
Samarkand
Although a Persian-speaking region, it was not united politically with Iran most of the times between the disintegration of the Seleucid Empire and the Arab conquest . In the 6th century it was within the domain of the Turkic kingdom of the Göktürks.At the start of the 8th century Samarkand came...

. When the 14th-century Muslim warlord of Turco-Mongol descent, Timur
Timur
Timur , historically known as Tamerlane in English , was a 14th-century conqueror of West, South and Central Asia, and the founder of the Timurid dynasty in Central Asia, and great-great-grandfather of Babur, the founder of the Mughal Dynasty, which survived as the Mughal Empire in India until...

 (Tamerlane), conquered Persia, Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

 and Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, the civilian population was decimated. Timur had 70,000 Assyrian Christians
Church of the East
The Church of the East tāʾ d-Maḏnḥāʾ), also known as the Nestorian Church, is a Christian church, part of the Syriac tradition of Eastern Christianity. Originally the church of the Persian Sassanid Empire, it quickly spread widely through Asia...

 beheaded in Tikrit
Tikrit
Tikrit is a town in Iraq, located 140 km northwest of Baghdad on the Tigris river . The town, with an estimated population in 2002 of about 260,000 is the administrative center of the Salah ad Din Governorate.-Ancient times:...

, and 90,000 more in Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

.

In the 16th century, Christians were half the population of Iraq. In 1987, the last Iraqi census counted 1.4 million Christians. They were tolerated under the secular regime of Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...

, who even made one of them, Tariq Aziz
Tariq Aziz
Tariq Aziz and Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq and a close advisor of former President Saddam Hussein. Their association began in the 1950s when both were activists for the then-banned Ba'ath Arab Socialist Party...

 his deputy. However persecution by Saddam Hussein continued against the Christians on an ethnic, cultural and racial level, as the vast majority are Mesopotamian Aramaic speaking Ethnic Assyrians (aka Chaldo-Assyrians). The Assyrian -Aramaic language and written script was repressed, the giving of Hebraic/Aramaic Christian names or Akkadian/Assyrio-Babylonian names forbidden(Tariq Aziz real name is Michael Youhanna for example), and Saddam exploited religious differences between Assyrian denominations such as Chaldean Catholics, Assyrian Church of the East
Assyrian Church of the East
The Assyrian Church of the East, officially the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East ʻIttā Qaddishtā w-Shlikhāitā Qattoliqi d-Madnĕkhā d-Āturāyē), is a Syriac Church historically centered in Mesopotamia. It is one of the churches that claim continuity with the historical...

, Syriac Oryhodox and Ancient Church of the East
Ancient Church of the East
The Ancient Church of the East was established in 1968. It follows the traditions of one of the oldest Christian churches, the Church of the East, whose origins trace back to the See of Seleucia-Ctesiphon in central Mesopotamia...

Many . Assyrians were ethnically cleansed from their towns and villages under the Anfal Campaign in 1988.

Recently, Chaldo-Assyrian Christians have seen their total numbers slump to about 500-000 to 800,000 today, of whom 250,000 live in Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

. An exodus to the neighboring countries of Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

 and Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 has left behind closed parishes, seminaries and convents. As a small minority, who until recently were without a militia of their own, Assyrian Christians have been persecuted by both Shi’a and Sunni Muslim militias, Kurdish
Kurdish
Kurdish may refer to:*The Kurdish people*The Kurdish language*The Kurdish alphabet*Kurdistan, the land of the Kurdish people which includes:*Iranian Kurdistan*Iraqi Kurdistan*Turkish Kurdistan*Syrian Kurdistan*History of the Kurdish people...

 Nationalists, and also by criminal gangs.

Many Assyrian Christians are departing for their ancestral heartlands in the Nineveh plains
Nineveh plains
Nineveh plains is a region in the Ninawa Governorate of Iraq to the north and west of the city Mosul. The area generally consists of three districts; Tel Keppe, Al-Hamdaniya, and Al-Shikhan...

 around Mosul. Assyrian militias have recently been set up to protect villages and towns
As of 21 June 2007, the UNHCR estimated that 2.2 million Iraqis had been displaced to neighboring countries, and 2 million were displaced internally, with nearly 100,000 Iraqis fleeing to Syria and Jordan each month. A 25 May 2007 article notes that in the past seven months only 69 people from Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 have been granted refugee
Refugee
A refugee is a person who outside her country of origin or habitual residence because she has suffered persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or because she is a member of a persecuted 'social group'. Such a person may be referred to as an 'asylum seeker' until...

 status in the United States.

Chaldean
Chaldean Catholic Church
The Chaldean Catholic Church , is an Eastern Syriac particular church of the Catholic Church, maintaining full communion with the Bishop of Rome and the rest of the Catholic Church...

 Catholic priest Fr. Ragheed Aziz Ganni and subdeacons Basman Yousef Daud, Wahid Hanna Isho, and Gassan Isam Bidawed were killed in the ancient city of Mosul
Mosul
Mosul , is a city in northern Iraq and the capital of the Ninawa Governorate, some northwest of Baghdad. The original city stands on the west bank of the Tigris River, opposite the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh on the east bank, but the metropolitan area has now grown to encompass substantial...

 last year. Fr. Ragheed Aziz Ganni was driving with his three deacons when they were stopped and demanded to convert to Islam, when they refused they were shot. Six months later, the body of Paulos Faraj Rahho
Paulos Faraj Rahho
Archbishop Mar Paulos Faraj Rahho was the Chaldean Catholic Archeparch of Mosul, in the northern part of Iraq.Also known as Paul Faraj Rahho and Paulos Faradsch Raho he was born into an ethnic Assyrian family, he lived almost his entire life in Mosul, Iraq, which has a long established community...

, archbishop of Mosul
Chaldean Catholic Archeparchy of Mosul
The Chaldean Catholic Archeparchy of Mosul is an Eastern sui juris particular church of the Catholic Church, located in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. Its followers are ethnic Assyrians and speakers of Aramaic. The diocese comprises the city of Mosul. The territory is subdivided in 12 parishes...

, was found buried near Mosul
Mosul
Mosul , is a city in northern Iraq and the capital of the Ninawa Governorate, some northwest of Baghdad. The original city stands on the west bank of the Tigris River, opposite the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh on the east bank, but the metropolitan area has now grown to encompass substantial...

. He was kidnapped on 29 February 2008 when his bodyguards and driver were killed.

In 2004, five churches were destroyed by bombing. Tens of thousands of Christians fled the country.

In 2010-11-01 was an attack on the Our Lady of Salvation Syriac Catholic cathedral
Cathedral
A cathedral is a Christian church that contains the seat of a bishop...


of Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

, Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

, that took place during Sunday evening Mass
Mass (liturgy)
"Mass" is one of the names by which the sacrament of the Eucharist is called in the Roman Catholic Church: others are "Eucharist", the "Lord's Supper", the "Breaking of Bread", the "Eucharistic assembly ", the "memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection", the "Holy Sacrifice", the "Holy and...

 on 31 October 2010. The attack left at least 58 people dead, after more than 100 had been taken hostage. The al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda is a global broad-based militant Islamist terrorist organization founded by Osama bin Laden sometime between August 1988 and late 1989. It operates as a network comprising both a multinational, stateless army and a radical Sunni Muslim movement calling for global Jihad...

-linked Sunni insurgent group

The Islamic State of Iraq
Islamic State of Iraq
The Islamic State of Iraq , is an umbrella organization of a number Iraqi insurgency groups established on October 15 2006.The group is composed of and supported by a variety of insurgency groups, including its predecessor, the Mujahideen Shura Council, Al-Qaeda, Jeish al-Fatiheen, Jund al-Sahaba,...

 claimed responsibility for the attack; though Shia cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani and Iraq's highest Catholic cleric condemned the attack, amongst others.

Lebanon

The war in Lebanon saw a number of massacres of both Christians and Muslims. Among the earliest was the Damour Massacre
Damour massacre
The Damour massacre took place on January 20, 1976 during the 1975–1990 Lebanese Civil War. Damour, a Christian town on the main highway south of Beirut, was attacked by the Palestine Liberation Organisation units...

 in 1976 when Palestinian militias attacked Christian civilians. According to an eyewitness: The attack took place from the mountain behind "It was an apocalypse," [said Father Mansour Labaky, a Christian Maronite priest who survived the massacre at Damour:] 'They were coming, thousands and thousands, shouting "Allahu Akbar! (God is great!) Let us attack them for the Arabs, let us offer a holocaust to Mohammad!", And they were slaughtering everyone in their path, men, women and children.' The persecution in Lebanon combined sectarian, political, ideological, and retaliation reasons. The Syrian regime
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 was also involved in persecuting Christians as well as Muslims in Lebanon.

In 2002, a currently unidentified gunman killed Bonnie Penner Witherall at a prenatal clinic in Sidon, Lebanon. She had been proselytizing and attempting to convert Muslims to Christianity.

Malaysia

In Malaysia, although Islam is the official religion, Christianity is mostly tolerated. However, in order to be a member of the majority race (the Malays
Malay people
Malays are an ethnic group of Austronesian people predominantly inhabiting the Malay Peninsula, including the southernmost parts of Thailand, the east coast of Sumatra, the coast of Borneo, and the smaller islands which lie between these locations...

), one is legally required to be a Muslim. If a non-Muslim marries a Muslim, they are legally required to convert to Islam. There has been a debate over whether Malaysia is a liberal Islamic state
Islamic State
An Islamic state is a type of government, in which the primary basis for government is Islamic religious law...

 or a very religious secular state
Secular state
A secular state is a concept of secularism, whereby a state or country purports to be officially neutral in matters of religion, supporting neither religion nor irreligion. A secular state also claims to treat all its citizens equally regardless of religion, and claims to avoid preferential...

.

Christians are forbidden to proselytize Muslims. Only Muslims are allowed to proselytize. In the 21st century, Christians have been accused of proselytizing Muslims. This accusation led to a raid on a Christian church by the Religious Police
Islamic religious police
Islamic religious police may refer to any of these organizations:*Mutaween of Saudi Arabia*Basij of Iran*Polisi Syariat Islam of Indonesia's territory of Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam*The various State Islamic Departments of Malaysia...

..

Pakistan

In Pakistan
Religion in Pakistan
The state religion in Pakistan is Islam, which is practised by about 95-98% of the 187,343,000 people of the nation. The remaining 2-5% practice Christianity, Hinduism and other religions. Muslims are divided into two major sects: the majority of them practice Sunni Islam, while the Shias are a...

 1.5% of the population are Christian
Christianity in Pakistan
Christianity is the largest religious minority in Pakistan. The total number of Christians in Pakistan is approximately 2,800,000 in 2008, or 1.6% of the population. Of these, approximately half are Roman Catholic and half Protestant...

. Pakistani law mandates that "blasphemies
Blasphemy law in Pakistan
The Pakistan Penal Code prohibits blasphemy against any recognized religion, providing penalties ranging from a fine to death. However, in practice, it is only applied to Islam. An accusation of blasphemy commonly subjects the accused, police, lawyers, and judges to harassment, threats, and attacks...

" of the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

 are to be met with punishment. Ayub Masih, a Christian, was convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to death in 1998. He was accused by a neighbor of stating that he supported British writer Salman Rushdie, author of The Satanic Verses
The Satanic Verses
The Satanic Verses is Salman Rushdie's fourth novel, first published in 1988 and inspired in part by the life of Prophet Muhammad. As with his previous books, Rushdie used magical realism and relied on contemporary events and people to create his characters...

. Lower appeals courts upheld the conviction. However, before the Pakistan Supreme Court, his lawyer was able to prove that the accuser had used the conviction to force Masih's family off their land and then acquired control of the property. Masih has been released.

In October 2001, gunmen on motorcycles opened fire on a Protestant congregation in the Punjab
Punjab (Pakistan)
Punjab is the most populous province of Pakistan, with approximately 45% of the country's total population. Forming most of the Punjab region, the province is bordered by Kashmir to the north-east, the Indian states of Punjab and Rajasthan to the east, the Pakistani province of Sindh to the...

, killing 18 people. The identify of the gunmen are unknown. Officials think it might be a ban
Ban (law)
A ban is, generally, any decree that prohibits something.Bans are formed for the prohibition of activities within a certain political territory. Some see this as a negative act and others see it as maintaining the "status quo"...

ned Islamic group.

In March 2002, five people were killed in an attack on a church in Islamabad
Islamabad
Islamabad is the capital of Pakistan and the tenth largest city in the country. Located within the Islamabad Capital Territory , the population of the city has grown from 100,000 in 1951 to 1.7 million in 2011...

, including an American schoolgirl and her mother.

In August 2002, masked gunmen stormed a Christian missionary school for foreigners in Islamabad, six people were killed and three injured. None of those killed were children of foreign missionaries.

In August 2002, grenades were thrown at a church in the grounds of a Christian hospital in north-west Pakistan, near Islamabad, killing three nurses.

On 25 September 2002 two terrorists entered the "Peace and Justice Institute", Karachi
Karachi
Karachi is the largest city, main seaport and the main financial centre of Pakistan, as well as the capital of the province of Sindh. The city has an estimated population of 13 to 15 million, while the total metropolitan area has a population of over 18 million...

, where they separated Muslims from the Christians, and then murdered seven Christians by shooting them in the head. All of the victims were Pakistani Christians. Karachi police chief Tariq Jamil said the victims had their hands tied and their mouths had been covered with tape.

In December 2002, three young girls were killed when hand grenade was thrown into a church near Lahore on Christmas Day.

In November 2005 3,000 militant Islamists attacked Christians in Sangla Hill in Pakistan and destroyed Roman Catholic, Salvation Army
Salvation Army
The Salvation Army is a Protestant Christian church known for its thrift stores and charity work. It is an international movement that currently works in over a hundred countries....

 and United Presbyterian churches. The attack was over allegations of violation of blasphemy laws by a Pakistani Christian named Yousaf Masih. The attacks were widely condemned by some political parties in Pakistan.

On 5 June 2006 a Pakistani Christian stonemason, Nasir Ashraf, was working near Lahore
Lahore
Lahore is the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab and the second largest city in the country. With a rich and fabulous history dating back to over a thousand years ago, Lahore is no doubt Pakistan's cultural capital. One of the most densely populated cities in the world, Lahore remains a...

 when he drank water from a public facility using a glass chained to the facility. He was assaulted by Muslims for "Polluting the glass". A mob developed, who beat Ashraf, calling him a "Christian dog". Bystanders encouraged the beating and joined in. Ashraf was eventually hospitalized.

One year later, in August 2007, a Christian missionary couple, Rev. Arif and Kathleen Khan, were gunned down by militant Islamists in Islamabad
Islamabad
Islamabad is the capital of Pakistan and the tenth largest city in the country. Located within the Islamabad Capital Territory , the population of the city has grown from 100,000 in 1951 to 1.7 million in 2011...

. Pakistani police believed that the murders was committed by a member of Khan's parish over alleged sexual harassment by Khan. This assertion is widely doubted by Khan's family as well as by Pakistani Christians.

In August 2009, six Christians, including 4 women and a child, were burnt alive by Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 militants and a church set ablaze in Gojra
Gojra
Gojra , the capital of Gojra Tehsil, is a city of Toba Tek Singh District in the Punjab province of Pakistan, it is located at 31°9'N 72°41'E and is located 30 miles from Faisalabad, 125 km from Burewala, 157 km from Vehari and north of Toba Tek Singh...

, Pakistan when violence
2009 Gojra riots
The 2009 Gojra riots were a series of attacks targeting Christians in Gojra town in Punjab province of Pakistan. These resulted in the deaths of eight Christians including four women and a child.-Background:...

 broke out after alleged desecration of a Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

 in a wedding ceremony by Christians.

On Nov. 8, 2010, a Christian woman from Punjab Province
Punjab (Pakistan)
Punjab is the most populous province of Pakistan, with approximately 45% of the country's total population. Forming most of the Punjab region, the province is bordered by Kashmir to the north-east, the Indian states of Punjab and Rajasthan to the east, the Pakistani province of Sindh to the...

, Asia Noreen Bibi, was sentenced to death by hanging for violating Pakistan's blasphemy law. The accusation stemmed from a 2009 incident in which Bibi became involved in a religious argument after offering water to thirsty Muslim farm workers. The workers later claimed that she had blasphemed the Prophet Muhammed. As of 8 April 2011, Bibi is in solitary confinement. Her family has fled. No one in Pakistan convicted of blasphemy has ever been executed. A cleric has offered $5,800 to anyone who kills her.

On 2 March 2011, the only Christian minister in the Pakistan government was shot dead. He was targeted for opposing the anti-free speech "blasphemy" law
Blasphemy law in Pakistan
The Pakistan Penal Code prohibits blasphemy against any recognized religion, providing penalties ranging from a fine to death. However, in practice, it is only applied to Islam. An accusation of blasphemy commonly subjects the accused, police, lawyers, and judges to harassment, threats, and attacks...

, which punishes insulting Islam or its Prophet. A fundamentalist Muslim group claimed responsibility.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

 is an Islamic state
Islamic State
An Islamic state is a type of government, in which the primary basis for government is Islamic religious law...

 that practices Wahhabism
Wahhabism
Wahhabism is a religious movement or a branch of Islam. It was developed by an 18th century Muslim theologian from Najd, Saudi Arabia. Ibn Abdul Al-Wahhab advocated purging Islam of what he considered to be impurities and innovations...

 and restricts all other religions, including the possession of religious items such as the Bible, crucifixes, and Stars of David. Christians are arrested and lashed in public for practicing their faith openly. Strict sharia
Sharia
Sharia law, is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Fiqh jurisprudence interprets and extends the application of sharia to...

 is enforced. Muslims are forbidden to convert to another religion. If one does so and does not recant, they may be executed.

Somalia

In Somalia
Somalia
Somalia , officially the Somali Republic and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic under Socialist rule, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. Since the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991 there has been no central government control over most of the country's territory...

 25 November 2010 Nurta Mohamed Farah, age 17. was shot and killed after fleeing her parents home where she had endured much torture and drugging, by them, in hopes that she would renounce her faith in Jesus Christ.

Sudan

In Sudan, it is estimated that over 1.5 million Christians have been killed by the Janjaweed
Janjaweed
The Janjaweed is a blanket term used to describe mostly gunmen in Darfur, western Sudan, and now eastern Chad...

, the Arab Muslim militia, and even suspected Islamists in northern Sudan since 1984.

It should also be noted that Sudan's several civil wars (which often take the form of genocidal campaigns) are often not only or purely religious in nature, but also ethnic, as many black Muslims, as well as Muslim Arab tribesmen, have also been killed in the conflicts.

It is estimated that as many as 200,000 people had been taken into slavery
Slavery
Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

 during the Second Sudanese Civil War
Second Sudanese Civil War
The Second Sudanese Civil War started in 1983, although it was largely a continuation of the First Sudanese Civil War of 1955 to 1972. Although it originated in southern Sudan, the civil war spread to the Nuba mountains and Blue Nile by the end of the 1980s....

. The slaves are mostly Dinka people.

Turkey

In modern Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

, the Istanbul pogrom
Istanbul Pogrom
The Istanbul riots , were mob attacks directed primarily at Istanbul's Greek minority on 6–7 September 1955. The riots were orchestrated by the Turkish government under Adnan Menderes. The events were triggered by the false news that the Turkish consulate in Thessaloniki, north Greece—the...

 was a state-sponsored and state-orchestrated pogrom
Pogrom
A pogrom is a form of violent riot, a mob attack directed against a minority group, and characterized by killings and destruction of their homes and properties, businesses, and religious centres...

 that compelled Greek Christians to leave Istanbul
Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

, the first Christian city in violation to the Treaty of Lausanne
Treaty of Lausanne
The Treaty of Lausanne was a peace treaty signed in Lausanne, Switzerland on 24 July 1923, that settled the Anatolian and East Thracian parts of the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire. The treaty of Lausanne was ratified by the Greek government on 11 February 1924, by the Turkish government on 31...

 (see Istanbul Pogrom
Istanbul Pogrom
The Istanbul riots , were mob attacks directed primarily at Istanbul's Greek minority on 6–7 September 1955. The riots were orchestrated by the Turkish government under Adnan Menderes. The events were triggered by the false news that the Turkish consulate in Thessaloniki, north Greece—the...

). The issue of Christian genocides by the Turks may become a problem, since Turkey wishes to join the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

.

The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople , part of the wider Orthodox Church, is one of the fourteen autocephalous churches within the communion of Orthodox Christianity...

 is still in a difficult position. Turkey requires by law that the Ecumenical Patriarch must be an ethnic Greek
Greeks
The Greeks, also known as the Hellenes , are a nation and ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus and neighboring regions. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world....

, holding Turkish citizenship by birth, although most of the Greek minority
Greeks in Turkey
The Greeks in Turkey constitute a population of Greek and Greek-speaking Eastern Orthodox Christians who mostly live in Istanbul, including its district Princes' Islands, as well as on the two islands of the western entrance to the Dardanelles: Imbros and Tenedos .They are the remnants of the...

 has been expelled. The state's expropriation of church property and the closing of the Orthodox Theological School of Halki
Halki seminary
The Halki seminary, formally the Theological School of Halki , was founded on 1 October 1844 on the island of Halki , the second-largest of the Princes' Islands in the Sea of Marmara. It was the main school of theology of the Eastern Orthodox Church's Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople until...

 are also difficulties faced by the Church of Constantinople. Despite appeals from the United States, the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 and various governmental and non-governmental organizations, the School remains closed since 1971. In November 2007, a 17th Century chapel of Our Lord's Transfiguration at the Halki seminary was almost totally demolished by the Turkish forestry authority. There was no advanced warning given for the demolition work and it was only stopped after appeals by the Ecumenical Patriarch.

Persecution of Christians has continued in modern Turkey. On 5 February 2006, the Catholic priest Andrea Santoro
Andrea Santoro
Father Andrea Santoro was a Roman Catholic priest in Turkey, murdered in the Santa Maria Church in Trabzon where he served as a member of the Catholic Church's Fidei donum missionary program.On 5 September 2006 he was shot dead from behind while kneeling in prayer in the church...

 was murdered in Trabzon
Trabzon
Trabzon is a city on the Black Sea coast of north-eastern Turkey and the capital of Trabzon Province. Trabzon, located on the historical Silk Road, became a melting pot of religions, languages and culture for centuries and a trade gateway to Iran in the southeast and the Caucasus to the northeast...

 by a student influenced by the reactions following the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy
Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy
The Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy began after 12 editorial cartoons, most of which depicted the Islamic prophet Muhammad, were published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten on 30 September 2005...

. On 18 April 2007, 3 Christians were murdered in the bible publishing firm
Bible publishing firm murders in Malatya, Turkey
The Bible publishing firm murders in Malatya took place on April 18, 2007 in Zirve Publishing House, Malatya, Turkey. Three employees of the Bible publishing house were attacked, tortured and murdered by five Muslim assailants.- The attack :...

 in Malatya
Malatya
Malatya ) is a city in southeastern Turkey and the capital of its eponymous province.-Overview:The city site has been occupied for thousands of years. The Assyrians called the city Meliddu. Following Roman expansion into the east, the city was renamed in Latin as Melitene...

, coincidentally, the hometown of Mehmet Ali Ağca
Mehmet Ali Agca
Mehmet Ali Ağca is a Turkish assassin who murdered left-wing journalist Abdi İpekçi on February 1, 1979 and later shot and wounded Pope John Paul II on May 13, 1981, after escaping from a Turkish prison. After serving 19 years of imprisonment in Italy, he was deported to Turkey, where he served a...

, the assassin who shot and wounded Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II
Blessed Pope John Paul II , born Karol Józef Wojtyła , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of Vatican City from 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005, at of age. His was the second-longest documented pontificate, which lasted ; only Pope Pius IX ...

 on 13 May 1981. In December 2007, Adriano Franchini, a catholic priest of the Capuchin order
Order of Friars Minor Capuchin
The Order of Friars Minor Capuchin is an Order of friars in the Catholic Church, among the chief offshoots of the Franciscans. The worldwide head of the Order, called the Minister General, is currently Father Mauro Jöhri.-Origins :...

 in Turkey, was stabbed in the stomach after Sunday mass. Franchini led the church of the Virgin Mary in Ephesus
Ephesus
Ephesus was an ancient Greek city, and later a major Roman city, on the west coast of Asia Minor, near present-day Selçuk, Izmir Province, Turkey. It was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League during the Classical Greek era...

.
Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

Turkey invaded Cyprus
Turkish invasion of Cyprus
The Turkish invasion of Cyprus, launched on 20 July 1974, was a Turkish military invasion in response to a Greek military junta backed coup in Cyprus...

 in 1974. The United Nations has documented their systematic destruction of churches of the Church of Cyprus from 1974 though 2003. Many churches were vandalized and their artifacts stolen. Church mosaics and frescoes were removed and ended up in Europe’s black market or sold openly in specialist stores and auction-houses. Some churches were demolished and some have had their use changed to mosques and stables.

Yemen

Three Christian missionaries were killed in their hospital in Jibla, Yemen
Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

 in December 2002. A gunman, apprehended by the authorities, said that he did it "for his religion."
India

Muslims in India who convert to Christianity have been subjected to harassment, intimidation, and attacks by Muslims. In Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir is the northernmost state of India. It is situated mostly in the Himalayan mountains. Jammu and Kashmir shares a border with the states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab to the south and internationally with the People's Republic of China to the north and east and the...

, the only Indian state with a Muslim majority, a Christian convert and missionary, Bashir Tantray, was killed, allegedly by militant Islamists in 2006.
A Christian priest, K.K. Alavi, a 1970 convert from Islam, thereby raised the ire of his former Muslim community and received many death threats. An Islamic terrorist group named "The National Development Front
NDF india
The National Development Front is a militant and extremist Muslim organisation in Kerala. It was established in India in 1993 and has stated that its objective is to "focus on socio-enonomical issues of minorities giving a focus to Kerala Muslims, Dalits and Other Backward Classes in Kerala".NDF...

" actively campaigned against him. In the southern state of India, Kerala
Kerala
or Keralam is an Indian state located on the Malabar coast of south-west India. It was created on 1 November 1956 by the States Reorganisation Act by combining various Malayalam speaking regions....

, Islamic Terrorists chopped off the hand of Professor T.J.Joseph due to allegation of blasphemy of prophet
2010 hand chopping incident in Kerala
The 2010 hand chopping incident in Kerala occurred on 4 July 2010 at Muvattupuzha in the Ernakulam district of Kerala, India. Joseph, a professor of Malayalam at Newman College, Thodupuzha, a Christian minority institution affiliated to Mahatma Gandhi University had his hand cut off at the wrist...

.
Nigeria

In the 11 Northern states of Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

 that have introduced the Islamic system of law, the Sharia
Sharia
Sharia law, is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Fiqh jurisprudence interprets and extends the application of sharia to...

, sectarian clashes between Muslims and Christians have resulted in many deaths, and some churches have been burned. More than 30,000 Christians were displaced from their homes Kano
Kano
Kano is a city in Nigeria and the capital of Kano State in Northern Nigeria. Its metropolitan population is the second largest in Nigeria after Lagos. The Kano Urban area covers 137 sq.km and comprises six Local Government Area - Kano Municipal, Fagge, Dala, Gwale, Tarauni and Nassarawa - with a...

, the largest city in northern Nigeria.
Philippines

In the Philippines, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front
Moro Islamic Liberation Front
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front is an Islamist group located in the southern Philippines. It is one of two Islamic militant groups, the other being the Abu Sayyaf, that are fighting against Government of the Philippines...

 and Abu Sayyaf
Abu Sayyaf
Abu Sayyaf also known as al-Harakat al-Islamiyya is one of several military Islamist separatist groups based in and around the southern Philippines, in Bangsamoro where for almost 30 years various Muslim groups have been engaged in an insurgency for an independent province in the country...

 has attacked and killed Christians.

Hindu extremism in India

In India, there is an increasing amount of violence being perpetrated by Hindu Nationalists against Christians, forcing thousands of Christians to convert to Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

. The increase in anti-Christian violence in India bears a direct relationship to the ascendancy of the Bharatiya Janata Party
Bharatiya Janata Party
The Bharatiya Janata Party ,; translation: Indian People's Party) is one of the two major political parties in India, the other being the Indian National Congress. Established in 1980, it is India's second largest political party in terms of representation in the parliament...

 (BJP). Incidents of violence against Christians have occurred in many parts of India. It is especially prevalent in the States of Gujarat, Maharashtra
Maharashtra
Maharashtra is a state located in India. It is the second most populous after Uttar Pradesh and third largest state by area in India...

, Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh abbreviation U.P. , is a state located in the northern part of India. With a population of over 200 million people, it is India's most populous state, as well as the world's most populous sub-national entity...

, Madhya Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh , often called the Heart of India, is a state in central India. Its capital is Bhopal and Indore is the largest city....

 and New Delhi. The Vishva Hindu Parishad
Vishva Hindu Parishad
' , which is usually known more simply as the VHP, is an international Hindu organization, which was founded in India in 1964. Its slogan is "धर्मो रक्षति रक्षितः Dharmo rakṣati rakṣitaḥ", which is supposed to mean "Dharma protects its protector"...

 (VHP), the Bajrang Dal
Bajrang Dal
The Bajrang Dal , a hardline and militant Hindu organization in India, is the youth wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and is based on the ideology of Hindutva. Founded on 1 October 1984 in Uttar Pradesh, India, it has since spread throughout India...

, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or National Patriotic Organization), also known the Sangh, is a right-wing Hindu nationalist, paramilitary, volunteer, and allegedly militant organization for Hindu males in India...

 (RSS) are the most responsible organizations for violence against Christians. These organizations, which are off-shoot organizations of their umbrella organization, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or National Patriotic Organization), also known the Sangh, is a right-wing Hindu nationalist, paramilitary, volunteer, and allegedly militant organization for Hindu males in India...

 (RSS) also known as the Sangh Parivar
Sangh Parivar
The Sangh Parivar refers to the family of organisations of Hindu nationalists which have been started by members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or are inspired by its ideas. The Sangh Parivar represents the Hindu nationalist movement. It includes the RSS and several dozen smaller...

, and local media were involved in promoting anti-Christian propaganda in Gujarat. The Sangh Parivar
Sangh Parivar
The Sangh Parivar refers to the family of organisations of Hindu nationalists which have been started by members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or are inspired by its ideas. The Sangh Parivar represents the Hindu nationalist movement. It includes the RSS and several dozen smaller...

 and related organisations have stated that the violence is an expression of "spontaneous anger" of "vanvasis" against "forcible conversion
Forced conversion
A forced conversion is the religious conversion or acceptance of a philosophy against the will of the subject, often with the threatened consequence of earthly penalties or harm. These consequences range from job loss and social isolation to incarceration, torture or death...

" activities undertaken by missionaries. These claims have been disputed by Christians a belief described as mythical and propaganda
Propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

 by Sangh Parivar; the Parivar objects in any case to all conversions as a "threat to national unity".

In recent years, there has been a sharp increase in violent attacks on Christians in India. From 1964 to 1996, thirty-eight incidents of violence against Christians were reported. In 1997, twenty-four such incidents were reported. In 1998, it went up to ninety. Between January 1998 and February 1999 alone, there were one hundred and sixteen attacks against Christians in India. Between 1 January and 30 July 2000, more than fifty-seven attacks on Christians were reported. The acts of violence include arson
Arson
Arson is the crime of intentionally or maliciously setting fire to structures or wildland areas. It may be distinguished from other causes such as spontaneous combustion and natural wildfires...

 of churches, forcible conversion of Christians to Hinduism, distribution of threatening literature, burning of Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

s, murder of Christian priests and destruction of Christian schools, colleges, and cemeteries. The attacks often accompanied by large amounts of anti-Christian hate literature.

In some cases, anti-Christian violence has been co-ordinated, involving multiple attacks. In 2007 Orissa violence
2007 Orissa violence
Religious violence in Orissa refers to civil unrest and riots in the remote forest region surrounding Kandhamal in the Indian state of Orissa. Parts of Kandhamal are tribal reservations where only tribal people can own land. Tribals and tribal land are protected by “The Scheduled Caste and the...

 Christians were attacked in Kandhamal
Kandhamal
Kandhamal is a district of the state of Orissa, India. The district headquarters of the district is Phulbani.-History:The Kandhmal district was created on 1 April 1993 from the former Boudh-Kandhmal district as a result of district reorganization in the state of Orissa.-Communal unrest and...

, Orissa
Orissa
Orissa , officially Odisha since Nov 2011, is a state of India, located on the east coast of India, by the Bay of Bengal. It is the modern name of the ancient nation of Kalinga, which was invaded by the Maurya Emperor Ashoka in 261 BC. The modern state of Orissa was established on 1 April...

, resulting in 9 deaths and destruction of houses and churches. Nearly twelve churches were targeted in the attack by Hindu activists. Human rights groups consider the violence as the failure of the state government that did not address the problem before it became violent. The authorities failed to react quickly enough to save human lives and property.

Foreign Christian missionaries have also been targets of attacks. In a well-publicised case Graham Staines
Graham Staines
Dr. Graham Stuart Staines was an Australian Christian missionary who along with his two sons Philip and Timothy were burnt to death by a gang while sleeping in his station wagon at Manoharpur village in Keonjhar district in Orissa, India on January 1999...

, an Australian missionary, was burnt to death while he was sleeping with his two sons Timothy (aged 9) and Philip (aged 7) in his station wagon at Manoharpur village in Keonjhar district in Orissa
Orissa
Orissa , officially Odisha since Nov 2011, is a state of India, located on the east coast of India, by the Bay of Bengal. It is the modern name of the ancient nation of Kalinga, which was invaded by the Maurya Emperor Ashoka in 261 BC. The modern state of Orissa was established on 1 April...

 in January 1999. In 2003, the Hindu nationalist activist Dara Singh
Dara Singh (murderer)
Dara Singh is a Bajrang Dal member who was convicted for leading the religious mob who murdered Australian Christian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons, Philip and Timothy on 22 January 1999...

 was convicted of leading the gang responsible.

In its controversial annual human rights reports for 1999, the United States Department of State
United States Department of State
The United States Department of State , is the United States federal executive department responsible for international relations of the United States, equivalent to the foreign ministries of other countries...

 criticised India for "increasing societal violence against Christians." The report listed over 90 incidents of anti-Christian violence, ranging from damage of religious property to violence against Christians pilgrims.

According to Rudolf C Heredia, religious conversion was a critical issue even before the creation of the modern state. Whereas Nehru wanted to establish a "a secular state in a religious society" Gandhi opposed the Christian missionaries calling them as the remnants of colonial Western culture. He claimed that by converting into Christianity, Hindus have changed their nationality.

Attacks on nuns, churches and Christian refugees across India produced fears that Hindu extremists were planning to target minority communities as the country prepared for a general election in 2008. A representative of the local government in Orissa estimated that more than 500 people died as a consequence of the anti-Christian pogrom launched by Hindu fundamentalists. He said he personally authorised the cremation of at least 200 bodies. On 2 July 2008 a priest was murdered by an obscure local group called Nepal Defence Army, which wanted Hinduism restored as the state religion, and has claimed responsibility for the murder of Johnson Moyalan. Religious scholar Cyril Veliath of Sophia University
Sophia University
There are several rankings below related to Sophia University.-General Rankings:The university was ranked 61st in 2010 in the ranking Truly Strong Universities by Toyo Keizai...

 stated that the Hindu attacks on Christians were the work of individuals motivated by "disgruntled politicians or phony religious leaders" and where religion is concerned the typical Hindu is an "exceptionally amicable and tolerant person (...) Hinduism as a religion could well be one of the most accommodating in the world. Rather than confront and destroy, it has a tendency to welcome and assimilate."

On 14 September 2008, the Hindu fundamentalist organizations Bajrang Dal
Bajrang Dal
The Bajrang Dal , a hardline and militant Hindu organization in India, is the youth wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and is based on the ideology of Hindutva. Founded on 1 October 1984 in Uttar Pradesh, India, it has since spread throughout India...

 directed a wave of attacks against Christian churches, convents and prayer halls in the Indian city of Mangalore. The attacks started in response to the allegation by the Bajrang Dal that the New Life Fellowship Trust, a non-denominational Christian Church, was indulging in forceful religious conversion of Hindus. Another reason was that the book Satyadarshini in which New Life Trust had denigrated and defamed Hindu gods. Over 20 churches were attacked during the course of the attacks, nearly all of them belonging to the Roman Catholic community. In the aftermath, the Viswa Hindu Parishad (VHP) gave a 3-month deadline for New Life Fellowship Trust (NLFT) to stop all conversion activities in Mangalore, in response to the alleged conversions.

Recent waves of anti-conversion laws in various Indian states passed by some states is claimed to be a gradual and continuous institutionalization of Hindutva
Hindutva
Hindutva is the term used to describe movements advocating Hindu nationalism. Members of the movement are called Hindutvavādis.In India, an umbrella organization called the Sangh Parivar champions the concept of Hindutva...

 by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour of the US State Department. Some Hindu groups argue that Christian missionaries use inducements such as schooling to lure poor people to the faith. As a result, they have launched movements to reconvert many tribal Christians back to Hinduism. A consolidation of various Anti-Conversion or "Freedom of Religion" Laws has been done by the All Indian Christian Council.
In the past, several Indian states passed anti-conversion bills primarily to prevent people from converting to Christianity. Arunachal Pradesh
Arunachal Pradesh
Arunachal Pradesh is a state of India, located in the far northeast. It borders the states of Assam and Nagaland to the south, and shares international borders with Burma in the east, Bhutan in the west, and the People's Republic of China in the north. The majority of the territory is claimed by...

 passed a bill in 1978. In 2003, Gujarat State, after religious riots in 2002 (see 2002 Gujarat violence
2002 Gujarat violence
The 2002 Gujarat violence describes the Godhra train burning and resulting communal riots between Hindus and Muslims. On 27 February 2002 at Godhra City in the state of Gujarat, the Sabarmati Express train was attacked by a large Muslim mob in a conspiracy. But some authentic sources deny the claim...

), passed an anti-conversion bill in 2003.

In July 2006, Madhya Pradesh government passed legislation requiring people who desire to convert to a different religion to provide the government with one-month's notice, or face fines and penalties.

In August 2006, the Chhattisgarh
Chhattisgarh
Chhattisgarh is a state in Central India, formed when the 16 Chhattisgarhi-speaking South-Eastern districts of Madhya Pradesh gained separate statehood on 1 November 2000....

 State Assembly passed similar legislation requiring anyone who desires to convert to another religion to give 30 days' notice to, and seek permission from, the district magistrate.

In February 2007, Himachal Pradesh
Himachal Pradesh
Himachal Pradesh is a state in Northern India. It is spread over , and is bordered by the Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir on the north, Punjab on the west and south-west, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh on the south, Uttarakhand on the south-east and by the Tibet Autonomous Region on the east...

 became the first Congress Party
Indian National Congress
The Indian National Congress is one of the two major political parties in India, the other being the Bharatiya Janata Party. It is the largest and one of the oldest democratic political parties in the world. The party's modern liberal platform is largely considered center-left in the Indian...

 ruled state to adopt legislation banning religious conversions.

People's Republic of China

The communist government of the People's Republic of China tries to maintain tight control over all religions, so the only legal Christian Churches (Three-Self Patriotic Movement
Three-Self Patriotic Movement
The Three-Self Patriotic Movement or TSPM is a state-controlled Protestant church in the People's Republic of China...

 and Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association
Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association
The Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association , abbreviated CPA, CPCA, or CCPA, is an association of people, established in 1957 by the People's Republic of China's Religious Affairs Bureau to exercise state supervision over mainland China's Catholics...

) are those under the Communist Party of China
Communist Party of China
The Communist Party of China , also known as the Chinese Communist Party , is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China...

 control. Churches which are not controlled by the government are shut down, and their members are imprisoned.

In 2009, Christians must worship in registered, regulated churches. According to the Jubilee Campaign, an interdenominational lobby group, about 300 Christians caught attending unregistered "house churches"
Chinese house church
Chinese house churches are a religious movement of unregistered assemblies of Christians in the People's Republic of China, which operate independently of the government-run Three-Self Patriotic Movement and China Christian Council for Protestant groups and the Chinese Patriotic Catholic...

 were in jail in 2004.

Gong Shengliang, head of the South China Church, was sentenced to death in 2001. Although his sentence was commuted to a jail sentence, Amnesty International
Amnesty International
Amnesty International is an international non-governmental organisation whose stated mission is "to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated."Following a publication of Peter Benenson's...

 reports that he has been tortured.

North Korea

North Korea leads the list of 50 countries where Christians are persecuted at current time according to a watch list by Open Doors
Open Doors
Open Doors is a non-denominational mission supporting persecuted Christians in more than 50 countries where Christianity is socially or legally discouraged or oppressed...

.

Indochina
Indochina
The Indochinese peninsula, is a region in Southeast Asia. It lies roughly southwest of China, and east of India. The name has its origins in the French, Indochine, as a combination of the names of "China" and "India", and was adopted when French colonizers in Vietnam began expanding their territory...

 region

The establishment of French Indochina
French Indochina
French Indochina was part of the French colonial empire in southeast Asia. A federation of the three Vietnamese regions, Tonkin , Annam , and Cochinchina , as well as Cambodia, was formed in 1887....

 once led to a high Christian population. Regime changes throughout the 19th and 20th centuries led to some increased persecution of minority religious groups. Killings, torture or imprisonment and forced starvation of local groups are common in parts of Vietnam and Laos, especially in more recent years.

See also

  • Persecution by Christians
  • Anti-Christian sentiment
  • Christian Solidarity Worldwide
    Christian Solidarity Worldwide
    Christian Solidarity Worldwide is a human rights organisation which specialises in religious freedom, works on behalf of those persecuted for their Christian beliefs and promotes religious liberty for all. Its current president is Jonathan Aitken, having taken over from Baroness Cox in 2006...

  • International Christian Concern
    International Christian Concern
    International Christian Concern is a non-denominational, non-governmental, Christian watchdog group, located in Washington, DC, whose concern is the human rights of Christians...

    , a Christian human rights NGO whose mission is to help persecuted Christians
  • Open Doors
    Open Doors
    Open Doors is a non-denominational mission supporting persecuted Christians in more than 50 countries where Christianity is socially or legally discouraged or oppressed...

  • Religious intolerance
    Religious intolerance
    Religious intolerance is intolerance against another's religious beliefs or practices.-Definition:The mere statement on the part of a religion that its own beliefs and practices are correct and any contrary beliefs incorrect does not in itself constitute intolerance...

  • Religious persecution
    Religious persecution
    Religious persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual or group of individuals as a response to their religious beliefs or affiliations or lack thereof....

  • Religious pluralism
    Religious pluralism
    Religious pluralism is a loosely defined expression concerning acceptance of various religions, and is used in a number of related ways:* As the name of the worldview according to which one's religion is not the sole and exclusive source of truth, and thus that at least some truths and true values...

  • Voice of the Martyrs
    Voice of the Martyrs
    The Voice of the Martyrs is the name of several related Christian organizations founded through the influence of Pastor Richard Wurmbrand in such countries as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States. These VOM missions aim to raise awareness about the many thousands of Christians...

  • 2010 East Texas Church Burnings
    2010 East Texas church burnings
    The 2010 East Texas church burnings refers to a growing number of church fires in East Texas. While one of the fires remains under investigation, the other ten have been declared by investigators to be acts of arson and related....


:Category:Christian martyrs 

Sources

  • Changing Gods: Rethinking Conversion in India. Rudolf C Heredia. Penguin Books. 2007. ISBN 0-14-310190-0
  • W.H.C. Frend
    William Hugh Clifford Frend
    The Reverend Professor William Hugh Clifford Frend was an English ecclesiastical historian, archaeologist, and Anglican priest.-Academic career:* Haileybury College...

    , 1965. Martyrdom and Persecution in the Early Church
  • Let My People Go: The True Story of Present-Day Persecution and Slavery Cal. R. Bombay, Multnomah Publishers, 1998
  • Their Blood Cries Out Paul Marshall and Lela Gilbert, World Press, 1997.
  • In the Lion's Den: Persecuted Christians and What the Western Church Can Do About It Nina Shea
    Nina Shea
    Nina Shea is an international human-rights lawyer, and international religious freedom advocate.-Early life:A native of Pennsylvania, Shea graduated cum laude from Smith College, and graduated from the Washington College of Law of American University...

    , Broadman & Holman, 1997.
  • This Holy Seed: Faith, Hope and Love in the Early Churches of North Africa Robin Daniel, (Chester, Tamarisk Publications, 2010: from www.opaltrust.org) ISBN 095385634
  • In the Shadow of the Cross: A Biblical Theology of Persecution and Discipleship Glenn M. Penner, Living Sacrifice Books, 2004
  • Catholic Martyrs of the Twentieth Century: A Comprehensive World History by Robert Royal, Crossroad/Herder & Herder; (April 2000). ISBN 0-8245-1846-2
  • Islam's Dark Side – The Orwellian State of Sudan, The Economist, 24 June 1995.
  • Sharia and the IMF: Three Years of Revolution, SUDANOW, September 1992.
  • Final Document of the Synod
    Synod
    A synod historically is a council of a church, usually convened to decide an issue of doctrine, administration or application. In modern usage, the word often refers to the governing body of a particular church, whether its members are meeting or not...

     of the Catholic Diocese of Khartoum
    , 1991. [noting "oppression and persecution of Christians"]
  • Human Rights
    Human rights
    Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

     Voice
    , published by the Sudan Human Rights Organization, Volume I, Issue 3, July/August 1992 [detailing forcible closure of churches, expulsion of priests, forced displacement of populations, forced Islamisation and Arabisation, and other repressive measures of the Government].
  • Khalidi, Walid
    Walid Khalidi
    Walid Khalidi is an Oxford University-educated Palestinian historian who has written extensively on the Palestinian exodus. He is General Secretary and co-founder of the Institute for Palestine Studies, established in Beirut in December 1963 as an independent research and publishing center...

    . "All that Remains: The Palestinian Villages cupied and Depopulated by Israel in 1948." 1992. ISBN 0-88728-224-5.
  • Sudan – A Cry for Peace, published by Pax Christi
    Pax Christi
    -History:Pax Christi was established in France in 1945 as a reconciliation work between the French and the Germans after the Second World War. In 2007, it existed in more than 60 countries...

     International, Brussels, Belgium, 1994
  • Sudan – Refugees in their own country: The Forced Relocation of Squatters and Displaced People from Khartoum, in Volume 4, Issue 10, of News from Africa Watch, 10 July 1992.
  • Human Rights Violations in Sudan, by the Sudan Human Rights Organization, February 1994. [accounts of widespread torture, ethnic cleansing and crucifixion of pastors].
  • Pax Romana statement of Macram Max Gassis, Bishop of El Obeid
    Al-Ubayyid
    Al-Ubayyid , also spelled El Obeid, is the capital of the state of North Kurdufan in central Sudan. In 2008, its population was 340,940. It is an important transportation hub: the terminus of a rail line, the junction of various roads and camel caravan routes, and the end of a pilgrim route from...

    , to the Fiftieth Session of the UN Commission on Human Rights, Geneva, February 1994 [accounts of widespread destruction of hundreds of churches, forced conversions of Christians to Islam, concentration camps, genocide of the Nuba
    Nuba
    Nuba is a collective term used here for the peoples who inhabit the Nuba Mountains, in Sudan, Africa. Although the term is used to describe them as if they composed a single group, the Nuba are multiple distinct peoples and speak different languages...

     people, systematic rape of women, enslavement of children, torture of priests and clerics, burning alive of pastors and catechists, crucifixion and mutilation of priests].

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK