Football World Cup: Seven countries where Christians are persecuted
Christians are persecuted in seven of the thirty-two countries that are participating in the World Cup in Russia. That means they cannot practice their faith in their home country without the risk of physical abuse or cultural alienation.
Iran occupies the tenth place on the World Watch List for the Persecution of Christians. In Iran, the Sharia or Islamic Law is enforced, so being a Christian is considered a threat against Islamic nationalism.
Christians who have a Muslim background have no right to enter churches. This means they have to meet in the secrecy of their homes and if found by police can be harassed, imprisoned, or even violated.
Saudi Arabia ranks twelfth on the Watch List. Saudi citizens cannot become Christians, and in Saudi Arabia baptism is not allowed in the churches. Visiting Christians, from foreign lands can be expelled or imprisoned, and many Christians who converted from the Muslim religion may be sentenced to death.
Nigeria comes fourteenth on the Watch List. Here Christians are subjected to even further ordeals because there are entire regions where terrorist groups, like Boko Haram, intimidate the inhabitants.
In the middle of the country, the Fulani shepherds persecute the Christians, burning their churches and killing the faithful.
In the North, most States apply the Sharia. In this part of the country, the Christians must tolerate strong discrimination.
Egypt is the seventeenth most dangerous country for Christians. 90% of Egyptian society is Muslim. These people pressurise Christians because they abandoned their ancient religion for Christ.
The Copts are the most significant Christian minority in the Middle-East, and there are regular attacks against the Copt Christians. In Egypt especially, they are discriminated against, violated, and traumatised.
The ISIS promised to eradicate Christianity from Egypt, and they do their best to keep their promise.
Tunisia is an Islamic republic, the thirtieth on the list. Christian converts are forced to return to their Muslim faith. The Muslim families won’t accept the conversion of their relatives. They usually reject them or even attack those members of the family who became Christians.
Although the Christians have the right to meet, they are supervised by the police.
Christian foreign visitors however can exercise their faith without any danger.
Mexico is the thirty-ninth on the list. In the south of the country, where the drug traffickers operate, Christians are badly treated, particularly in those churches where the priests try to help drug addicts.
Columbia occupies the forty-ninth place on the list. Although it’s a Christian country, there are persecuted Christians in the indigenous communities and in some abandoned village. The corruption, the presence of the mafia and the paramilitary groups who refused the peace treaty of 2016, make life for Columbian Christians harder.
Drug traffickers and criminal threaten Christians with death and make them pay for their protection. Nevertheless, the influence of the Protestant Church has grown in the last years in Columbia.
Translator: Ildikó Ungvári