Report suggests up to 170,000 persecuted Christians die every year
The Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need has revealed that 130,000-170,000 people die every year as a result of violence directed against Christianity.
The 289 page report, titled Violence against Christians in the Year 2001, was compiled by historian J. Gyula Orbán (pictured) of the charity's Dutch office.
But Aid to the Church in Need maintains that a complete picture of persecution in the world remains unattainable, because in certain countries such as China "there is much more going on than we are allowed to find out".
Many people also die in countries such as Saudi Arabia, which is hermetically closed to foreigners.
Aid to the Church in Need said: "Most of our information comes from refugees, mainly Moslems who converted to Christianity, which is considered a crime punishable by death in Saudi Arabia."
Protestants, it appears, are more susceptible to persecution than Catholics because they have more staying power.
"We are more inclined to adopt a 'Peter position, denying the Lord when things get difficult", said the statement from the charity's Australian office.
Among countries, which have gained great notoriety for their persecution of Christians, we find four with communist regimes (China, North Korea, Vietnam and Laos), and five ruled by Islamic law (Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Iran and the Maldives).
Different sources indicate that some extremist groups, which are violently persecuting Christians in Africa and Asia today, have links to Al-Quaida. Particularly tight bonds exist between Bin Laden's network and the radical Islamic military government of Sudan, which rates as one of the worst persecutors of Christianity.
Aid to the Church in Need
Aid to the Church in Need Aistralia | Aid to the Church in Need International
Religious Freedom in the Majority Islamic Countries - 1998 Report (Aid to the Church in Need)
Cardinal Kung Foundation
24 Oct 2002