Seventy per cent of Christians murdered in 2016 lived in Africa and were caught up in tribal conflicts on the continent, the Centre for Studies on New Religions has claimed.
Speaking to the Vatican Radio, Massimo Introvigne, director of the centre, said approximately half a billion Christians in the world were unable to express their faith completely freely. Moreover, approximately 90,000 Christians — one every six minutes — died for their faith in 2016.
Mr Introvigne said around 70 per cent of Christians murdered in 2016 died in tribal conflicts in Africa. These deaths were included, he said, because very often they involved Christians who refuse to take up arms for reasons of conscience.
‘The other 30 per cent, or 27,000, were killed in terror attacks, the destruction of Christian villages, or government persecution’, he told Vatican Radio. However, the statistics also pointed out that the number of Christians killed is down from 105,000 in 2015, although they remain the most persecuted religious group on the planet.
While Catholicism’s definition of ‘Christian’ differs radically from that of Protestant evangelicalism’s, these statistics do reflect the enormous scale of persecution facing professing Christians around the world.