At a meeting in London with the Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and the Bishop of Truro, Rt Rev Philip Mountstephen, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, welcomed the launch of the independent inquiry into Christian persecution around the world, ordered by the government. The Inquiry will be led by Rev Philip Mountstephen himself.
The inquiry announced before Christmas and due to report back by Easter with its recommendations was set up as Hunt admitted the UK should be doing more to help Christians.
The British Government estimates that 215 million Christians across the world face persecution on account of their belief. Last year, 100,000 were killed because of their faith.
Cardinal Nichols said that religious faith was becoming increasingly important across the world and pointed to the vitality of Christians as people of hope. He also made the point that being a Christian always involved giving a critique of power.
Hunt said when setting up the inquiry that he would be taking an objective look at how the British government could better respond to the pressing plight of persecuted Christians around the world.
According to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Christians are the most persecuted group in the contemporary world. The Holy See has reported that over 100,000 Christians are violently killed annually because of some relation to their faith. According to the World Evangelical Alliance, over 200 million Christians are denied fundamental human rights solely because of their faith.
Of the 100-200 million Christians alleged to be under assault, the majority are persecuted in Muslim-dominated nations. Christians suffer numerically more than any other faith group or any group without faith in the world. Of the world’s three largest religions Christians are allegedly the most persecuted with 80% of all acts of religious discrimination being directed at Christians who make up 33% of the world’s population.
Every year, the Christian non-profit organization Open Doors publishes the World Watch List – a list of the top 50 countries which it designates as the most dangerous for Christians. The 2018 World Watch List has the following countries as its top ten: North Korea, Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, Pakistan, Eritrea, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, Iran.
Christians have faced increasing levels of persecution in the Muslim world. Muslim-majority nations in which Christian populations have suffered acute discrimination, persecution, repression, violence and in some cases death, mass murder or ethnic cleansing include; Iraq, Iran, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Somalia, Qatar, Kuwait, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Maldives.