Reg. No. 1084047
Editorial supervisor, Dr. Helmy Guirguis
Dr. Helmy Guirguis 71, the president of the UK Copts, passed away on the 31 of January, 2015 after a struggle with illness. UK Copts mourns its founder and leader. He is a leader that touched so many by his life and has been fighting for the coptic case till his last breath. The commemoration mass for his 40th day will be held on Sunday 15th of March, 2014 starting 8 AM in Saint Mary and Saint Mark Coptic Orthodox Centre of Birmingham (Lapworth) .For commiserations, please send us an email to

75 Percent of Persecution is Against Christians: Report

The 2013 Persecuted and Forgotten? Report provides in-depth analysis of the situation Christians face in 30 countries where believers, to one degree or another, are not fully free to practice their faith. In the past two years violence and intimidation targeting Christians have increased in a number of nations.

In 20 of the 30 countries surveyed in the report the situation has worsened. In other settings, where the problems were already extreme, there has been little or no change. In some areas, the Christian faith is actually at risk of being eliminated altogether.

Front and center is the development that, for the Church in the Middle East, the Arab Spring has turned into a Christian Winter. There are now grave questions about the long-term survival of Christianity in the Middle East, its ancient heartland. All faith communities have suffered, but Christian communities have proved more vulnerable than most and have been disproportionately affected by violence and turmoil.

Rising Islamism

Radical Islamist groups' objectives include the eradication -- or at least the subordination -- of Christianity. Well-funded, politically well-connected and banking on sophisticated weaponry and military training, radical groups have struck Christian communities hard, killing scores of Christians and damaging numerous church buildings. Radical Muslim groups are also increasingly active in Africa--notably in Nigeria, Mali, the Central African Republic and Tanzania--and stepping up their already dominant role in Pakistan and elsewhere on the Asian subcontinent.

Communism remains an enemy of the Church

Communist countries have renewed efforts to crack down on Christians--more for their perceived links to the West and dissident groups than for their beliefs per se. In North Korea, formal religious activity remains virtually nil and is highly monitored. China has reasserted its authority over Christian groups, especially those not formally sanctioned by the government. Vietnam has continued to impose serious restraints on Christians. The situation has improved slightly in Laos and Cuba, although significant problems remain there as well.

Threat to religious freedom is a threat to human rights across the board

Pope John Paul II said that the degree of respect for religious liberty is "the litmus test for the respect of all other human rights." In that light, the Report--noting that persecution against Christians is worsening in many countries, while remaining at a critical level in a number of others--concludes that the struggle for basic human freedoms is losing ground around the world.

Click here for the full report.

Executive Summary

"Our people are very afraid. We were expecting trouble but nothing to this degree of brutality."

With emotion evident in his voice, Bishop Kyrillos William of Assiut, Egypt talks to staff at Aid to the Church in Need the morning after a spate of violence against Christians concentrated within less than 48 hours. He said that nearly 80 churches and other Coptic centres including convents, Church-run schools and clinics had been attacked all across the country. He explained that fear of attack meant that thousands of Christians were too afraid to leave their homes. "Many Christians are suffering," he said. "From some villages, we hear appeals from people saying 'Save us; we cannot go out of our houses'".

Shocked by the scale of the attacks, we at ACN asked the bishop to explain why the Church had borne the brunt of the violence. He said: "The attackers thought that Christians were to blame for their problems. We were being punished -- scapegoated."

The events of 14--15th August 2013 that Bishop Kyrillos described demonstrate the primary purpose of this report, the 2013 edition of Persecuted and Forgotten? A Report on Christians oppressed for their Faith. The full report, which is available at, shows that Christians have fallen victim to widespread and intense acts of violence motivated in part at least by religious hatred. Furthermore, in the period under review, 2011--2013, evidence both first and second-hand suggests that the violence and intimidation in question is now more serious than in preceding years. Taken as a whole, the oppression raises grave questions about the long-term survival of Christianity in regions where until recently the Church has been both numerous in terms of faithful, and active in terms of the part it has played in public life. Yet, even a cursory glance at the various flashpoints around the world within the past three years makes clear that Christians most certainly have not always been the primary target of attack, nor indeed that a religious agenda has clearly stood above and beyond all other motives driving aggressors. People of all faiths and none have suffered during a period of revolution, civil war and international upheaval that both encompasses the Arab Spring and extends far beyond it.

A close comparison of the impact of the violence on the various religious communities concerned points to two key forces of change: firstly that as large and well-established communities, often with a long history, Christians are disproportionately vulnerable to attack, and secondly that their reaction has been to flee regions of conflict with little prospect of returning, at least in the short-term. Nor indeed are these twin problems -- vulnerability and exodus -- passing phenomena. Already well established for years, decades and in some cases centuries, they have become so pronounced that it would take far more than simply a change of government to win back the confidence that has been so comprehensively crushed. Christianity may yet remain the largest world religion, but its claims to universality -- a truly global presence on all five continents -- may soon be lost as it becomes the prime victim in the emergence of theocratic states where minority faith groups -- most especially Christians -- have no place, except perhaps as third-class citizens.

Global perspectives: 75 percent of persecution is against Christians

If this prognosis sounds ominous, the start of the reporting period -- spring 2011 -- began on a distinctly unpromising note. Even before the Arab Spring began, an event which was to have devastating consequences for Christianity, leading human rights researchers and commentators declared something long suspected but not yet proven -- that is until now: that Christianity is the world's most persecuted religion. In October 2010, a report issued by the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) concluded that at least 75 per cent of all religious persecution was directed against Christians. It released findings showing that about 100 million Christians experienced some sort of discrimination, oppression or persecution.

If COMECE's report was met with scepticism in some quarters, subsequent events have provided ample proof of the scale of the threat against the Church and hence in November 2012 German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared before a synod of the country's Lutheran Church that: "Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world." What has changed since the last edition of Persecuted and Forgotten? released in March 2011, is that notions about the severity of Christian persecution have come to be accepted by the media at large. Leading news and other media organisations have taken up the story of Christian persecution as never before. They have done so despite being accused by some, including the religious journalist Rupert Shortt, of being in denial about the problem because of misplaced embarrassment about 19th century colonial powers evangelising 'the natives' in far-flung places.

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75 Percent of Persecution is Against Christians: Report

The 2013 Persecuted and Forgotten? Report provides in-depth analysis of the situation Christians face in 30 countries where believers, to one degree or another, are not fully free to practice their faith. In the past two years violence and intimidation targeting Christians have increased in a number of nations.