A Snapshot of Christian Persecution in 2021
For many of us, 2021 was a difficult year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For many Believers around the world, however, it was yet another year of trials amidst persecution. The severity of Christian persecution can vary from one country to another. Persecution can come from the government or even from members of one’s family. Below is a snapshot of Christian persecution which occurred in 2021.
In 2021, the Taliban captured Kabul and former prime minister Ashraf Ghani fled Afghanistan.
This is the first Taliban government in 20 years. Members of the Taliban are now in search of people who have worked with the previous government, as well as those who profess the Christian faith. Apostasy is a crime punishable by death under shariah law. Christians are at extreme risk of being targeted with deadly violence.
In addition to all of this, according to the UN, more than half of Afghanistan’s population of 39 million faced a severe food shortage in 2021. Christians desperately need our prayers.
There is a reason for hope: as the new Taliban government tightens its grip on Afghanistan, and the difficulties increase, people are beginning to recognise the darkness of Islam and they are open to the good news of the Gospel.
Voice of the Martyrs is committed to assisting Christians who have remained in Afghanistan. We will continue to provide them with practical and spiritual aid.
Boko Haram and Fulani Islamic militants continue to work together to attack Christians throughout northern Nigeria.
In April 2021, Boko Haram took control of 42 communities in eastern Niger State, putting its flag approximately a two-hour drive from Abuja, Nigeria’s federal capital. As it stands today, Boko Haram controls approximately 500 communities in eastern Niger.
Nearly all Christians in north-eastern Nigeria have lost family members in attacks by Boko Haram or Fulani militants. Entire congregations have been displaced, and many pastors have been forced to leave the region.
Voice of the Martyrs continues to support children who have lost parents in Islamist attacks, as well as train and equip pastors in the north. We also provide study Bibles, New Testaments and Christian discipleship literature for Believers.
Christians in Pakistan are considered to be second-class citizens and their experience of poverty and sickness has only worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The blasphemy laws, which prohibit the insulting of Islam, continue to be an opportunity for Christians to be falsely accused by Muslims which can result in imprisonment or even death.
The People’s Commission for Minorities’ Rights (PCMR) and The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), two Pakistan-based organisations, have reported a record rise in forced conversion cases of minority girls in Pakistan since 2020. According to their report, 36 underage non-Muslim girls in Pakistan have been kidnapped and forcefully converted to Islam since the beginning of 2021. This is a 177% increase from the thirteen cases reported in 2020.
VOM continues to provide medical treatment for impoverished Believers, vocational training for vulnerable Christian women, education for children, pastor support, and legal and political advocacy for Christians susceptible to injustice.
Hindu extremists continue to believe that India should rid itself of Christianity. The growing intolerance towards Christianity has been marked since the coming to power of the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) in 2014.
Hindu extremists continued to attack churches and individuals in 2021.
Christians have suffered particularly in India during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have been overlooked for food aid. They believe religious nationalism is behind the discrimination which maintains that Christians and Muslims are not true Indians.
Voice of the Martyrs continues to respond to persecution incidents and supports persecuted pastors and their families as well as frontline workers. We provide Bibles and other practical help for Christians living in India’s most hostile areas.