A report revealed that Christian persecution got worse all across the world amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report, "Set Your Captors Free," was released in Nov. 25 and showed the varying persecution that Christians suffered as the new coronavirus spread.
In the early weeks during the pandemic, Christian arrests are notably low.
"It seems that, early on in the crisis, authoritarian regimes, with a track record of repression of religious practice, 'relaxed a crackdown on unofficial religious groups,'"
Earlier in April, the United States called for countries like China, Iran and Myanmar to release its prisoners of conscience. The U.S. also made the call to prevent the further spreading of virus in prison.
However, report says that persecution increased and got even more severe as the pandemic went on.
The report noted that there were "three key factors" that made Christian persecution worse during the pandemic: court closure, online church services, and other opportunities to intensify persecution.
The Union of Catholic Asian News reported Christians were denied food and other health care assistance that they badly need during the pandemic. Those who have been bold enough with their faith also lost support systems that were vital for them to survive in the midst of the pandemic.
In China, churches were demolished and Christians were arrested for holding their prayers online, which was "totally prohibited." Church leaders are arrested for preaching. Anybody affiliated with the Church is not allowed even to distribute face masks in public places.
One Christian was arrested in the Shandon province in China for organizing an "illegal" religious service. The arrest came when the Christian urged other Christians to pray and fast for COVID-19 victims for nine days.
Local charities also seem to ignore Christians' cry for help.
In Eritrea, which is in Southern Africa, Christians are prevented from accessing shelter camps. They were also barred from accessing support systems from the United Nations.
New converts also suffered after they were disowned by their families. In countries like Egypt and Pakistan, Christians were left to live in poverty. Some were left without work. Some don't even have enough money to buy the basic protection they need against the virus like hand sanitizers or face masks. Worse, Christian women are often kidnapped and are subjected to forced marriages or forced conversion to turn away from their Christian faith.
Open Doors, a charity that helps persecuted Christians all across the world, said that the pandemic had created more opportunities to attack the believers in their Christian faith. A sad truth seeing that Christians across the globe are also affected by the pandemic, leaving them even more vulnerable and exposed to the attacks of many who do not share the same faith and belief.
Paige Collins of Open Doors said the bad situation only became worse for Christians, including other religious minorities.
Collins shared, "Here, some Islamic extremist voices have propagated the message that the coronavirus is a Western invention against Islam or Allah's punishment against those who have accepted Christianity and departed from Islam. Christians are reporting increased harassment as a result of the rumors, which are likely driving additional exposures to the virus as well."