Release International has published a report looking ahead to persecution trends in 2021. The report highlights the countries where Christians are likely to face the most hostility.
In Africa, the organisation highlights the nations of Nigeria, Kenya, and Eritrea. The report says, ‘Some 300 evangelical Christians remain detained without trial inside repressive Eritrea where all evangelical and pentecostal churches are banned.’
In Kenya, ‘the coronavirus pandemic has severely limited the work of our Kenyan partner which serves believers from a Muslim background’. The report added, ‘Those who convert from Islam continue to face pressure and intimidation.’
Looking at the Far East, it is no surprise that China and North Korea are also mentioned in the report. One partner organisation said, ‘The government of President Xi Jinping is increasing its “clean up” of anything that does not advance the communist agenda.’ North Korea continues to prohibit all Christian activity.
In South Asia, Pakistani blasphemy laws continue to be widely misused against Christians. And in India, Christians fear that Hindu nationalism and religious intolerance will continue to grow during 2021.
In South East Asia, the Malaysian constitution guarantees religious freedom on paper, but in reality Sharia (Islamic law) often supersedes it. Apostasy laws make conversion illegal in all but one Malaysian state.
In the Middle East, the Release International report focuses on Egypt, Iraq, and Iran. As in so many places, Christians are treated as second class citizens, and converts from Islam pay a high price for their faith.