.- According to Aid to the Church in Need’s 2005 report on religious freedom, persecution of Christians in Asia is on the rise, with thousands suffering torture, prison or death at the hands of political and religious leaders in Asian countries.
The Spanish daily La Razon published excerpts from the report, noting that the Asian continent-including the Middle East-is where the greatest number of abuses of religious freedom takes place. “In certain regions, for example, speaking in public about any religion other than the official State religion is prohibited. In others, Christian worship is a sufficient reason to end up in jail. The case of China, where Catholics can only profess their faith ‘by joining’ a national organization that controls their movements (the Patriotic Catholic Association), is one of the most criticized cases in the report,” the newspaper indicated.
The report also noted the case of India, “where growing Hindu nationalism and recent ‘anti-conversion’ laws have resulted in attacks against Christians,” including several deaths that have yet to be investigated.
In Asia and the Middle East, the countries with the greatest incidences of persecution include Iraq, the Palestinian Authority, China, Saudi Arabia, Iran, India, Sri Lanka, Laos, Vietnam and North Korea.
The report also notes the religious persecution taking place on other continents. In Africa, there has been a decrease in Morocco and Tunisia, but the situation has worsened in Algeria, Kenya, Nigeria, Eritrea, Libya, Rwanda, Mauritania and Egypt. Europe does not escape criticism either. Aid to the Church in Need notes an increase in radical secularism affecting the Church in Russia, Georgia, Serbia and Bosnia.