Christianity is on a considerable decline in a number of countries as Christians are experiencing violence and persecution because of their faith, according to a new report.
Catholic group Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) published a report on Tuesday, documenting the “deepening plight of Christians” over a two year period (2013-2015) in 22 different countries of concern.
“Christians are fast disappearing from entire regions – most notably a huge chunk of the Middle East but also whole dioceses in Africa. In large part, this migration is the product of an ethnic cleansing motivated by religious hatred,” says the report titled, ‘Persecuted and Forgotten?’
One of the main reasons for the worsening of Christian persecution is due to Islamic extremism in the Middle East and Africa, according to the report.
In Iraq, ISIS took over Mosul and Nineveh, provoking a mass scale exodus of 120,000 Christians. Similar exoduses of Christians have taken place in Syria and other regions of the Middle East, posing “the very real possibility that Christianity could soon all but disappear from much of its ancient homeland,” the report claims.
In Africa, Islamist violence toward Christians is meant to intimidate Christians as is happening in countries like Kenya, South Sudan, and Nigeria, while Christians in these regions flee due to fear of genocide, according to the report. In May 2015, 100,000 Catholics fled the Nigerian Diocese in Maiduguri due to violent attacks from Boko Haram.
The report found that Christians are targeted, not only by Islamist extremists, but also by nationalist religious movements -- like Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, and Buddhist -- and totalitarian regimes, like North Korea and China.
In India, radical Hindu movements initiated violent attacks increased across various regions “where the Christian presence is weaker to the urban centers, including those where the Church is prominent” according to ACN.
Buddhist extremists in Sri Lanka and Burma continue to repress Christian ethnic minorities where churches and other Christian houses of worship have either been closed down or destroyed.
Those of the Christian faith are the most persecuted in the world with 80% of religious discrimination being against Christians, according to the International Society for Human Rights 2012 report.
"Every day in countries across the world, Christians are systematically discriminated against, exploited and even driven from their homes because of their faith," UK Prime Minister David Cameron wrote in response to the report findings.
“It is also why the work of organizations such as Aid to the Church in Need is so crucial," Cameron continued. "This report serves as a voice for the voiceless, from their prison cells and the places far from home where they have sought refuge. Now is not the time for silence. We must stand together and fight for a world where no one is persecuted because of what they believe.”