Even though Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world and the severity of the living conditions of oppressed Christians is getting worse year by year it is quite rare to read about Christian persecution in the mainstream media. Similarly, despite the fact that one of the most important aims of the United Nations is to protect human rights, the world organization repeatedly turns a blind eye to persecuted Christians and still does not deal with their suffering as a priority. According to the Open Doors USA organization, 309 million Christians live in countries where there is severe Christian persecution and 13 Christians are killed every day worldwide because of their faith, which means one out of eight Christian is persecuted in the world.
In 2017 Hungary sent a clear message to the world that it deals with persecuted Christians as a priority when the government launched the Hungary Helps international humanitarian programme to help persecuted Christians all over the world. Since the programme has started, it assisted to more than 250 thousand people in need. As the State Secretary for the Aid of Persecuted Christians Tristan Azbej said in a radio interview a lot of people tend to think that the bloodiest Christian persecution is still happening in the Middle-East while in the recent years West-Africa has become the major area of Christian persecution. More and more reports state that in 2021 most Christian were killed in Nigeria only because of their beliefs and that it is one of the worst countries for Christian persecution. According to the Open Doors USA World Watch List 46 per cent of Nigeria’s population is Christian, meaning that there are more than 95 million Christian living in the 9th worse country for Christians. This year 3500 Christians were killed in Nigeria, which means that the number of martyrs in the country is already almost equivalent to last year’s number. In a Nigerian city called Jus 40 Christian including 12 children were killed by Fulani jihadists and local Muslims on 15 and 25 August.
On 25 August the jihadist not only shot 16 Christians, but they burned down their houses with their families and toddlers, as well
Last month 36 Christians were killed by Fulani jihadists in Kaduna state without punishment and the authorities only arrested Christians who were trying to defend themselves. After series of these bloody attacks a pastor from Kaduna and one of the parents who lost his daughter on 15 August attack said that the current government still remains silent on these horrible attacks and supports these killings by not doing anything to protect Nigerian Christians. The government also does not hunt down these terrorists or provide justice to those Christians who have been arrested only because they tried to defend themselves. Though most of the anti-Christian attacks are still carried out by the Boko Haram terrorist group whose main purpose is to impose Sharia, the Islamic law on everyone. Affordia, a Christian widow whose husband was killed by Boko Haram said in an interview with David Curry, Open Door USA’s president, that the terror group always reassures Muslims before their attacks that they are not coming for them as they are only searching for Christian “infidels”. Before Boko Haram killed Affordia’s husband, they asked him whether he is a Muslim or an infidel. His replied that he was not an infidel, but a Christian. After that he started to pray and they shot him in front of Affordia. The heart-breaking interview with Affordia can be watched here.
Since the mainstream media and the UN are as silent about these attacks as the Nigerian government; therefore, it is our duty to draw people’s attention to what is happening to persecuted Christians, so more people and organization could help them. It is mind-blowing to see how strong the faith of these persecuted Christians is despite the real danger they live in every single day of their lives. Still, they proudly and bravely undertake their faith. As a Hungarian Christian, I cannot imagine how much these people would give to have as much freedom as we have in western democracies. So, to my mind, it is extremely important not to remain silent about the 309 million persecuted believer and I firmly believe that helping them and sharing their stories are not just the duty of Christians and conservatives, but every freedom-loving person. World leaders, human rights organizations, the UN and the mainstream media should deal with persecuted Christians and raise awareness of the seriosity of the growing Christian persecution in the world, just as they do that with another “hot topics” like global warming or gender issues.
Sáron Sugár, Danube Institute research fellow