CFI Factsheet: Dangerous Trends

persecuted relgion

“Christians are now the most persecuted religious group in the world”

Terrorist attacks as well as the arrival of hundreds of thousands of Muslim refugees in Europe have drawn renewed attention to the continent’s Muslim population. Since mid-2015, according to Reuters (2/19/17), Germany has taken in more than a million migrants from the Muslim majority nations of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Perhaps the most important statistic which stands out comes from the United Nations itself, which reports that 75% of the migrants are “young, fit males.”


An article by Robert Spencer, “The Hijrah into Europe, Refugees Colonize a Continent” (September 4, 2015), raises alarms:

“Approximately 104,460 asylum seekers arrived in Germany during the month of August, setting a new record. That makes 413,535 registered refugees and migrants coming to Germany in 2015 so far. The country expects a total of around 800,000 people to seek asylum in Germany this year. And that’s just Germany. The entire continent of Europe is being inundated with refugees at a rate unprecedented in world history. This is no longer just a “refugee crisis.” This is a hijrah.”

“Hijrah, or jihad by emigration, is, according to Islamic tradition, the migration or journey of Muhammad and his followers from Mecca to Yathrib, later renamed by him to Medina, in the year 622 CE. It was after the hijrah that Muhammad for the first time became not just a preacher of religious ideas, but a political and military leader. That was what occasioned his new “revelations” exhorting his followers to commit violence against unbelievers. Significantly, the Islamic calendar counts the hijrah, not Muhammad’s birth or the occasion of his first “revelation,” as the beginning of Islam, implying that Islam is not fully itself without a political and military component.”

“To emigrate in the cause of Allah – that is, to move to a new land in order to bring Islam there, is considered in Islam to be a highly meritorious act.”

The Takeover of Europe

According to the Pew Research Center, Germany and France have the largest Muslim populations among European Union member (or former member) countries.

  • As of 2010, there were 4.8 million Muslims in Germany and 4.7 million Muslims in France.
  • But in recent decades, the Muslim share of the population throughout Europe grew about 1% a decade, from 4% in 1990 to 6% in 2010.
  • This pattern is expected to continue through 2030, when Muslims are projected to make up more than 8% of Europe’s population.

As of 2010, the European Union was home to about 13 million Muslim immigrants. Since then that number has grown considerably and is growing each day.

While Islam is on the increase in Europe, it is certainly not contained there. This is a global issue that should be a cause for concern for anyone concerned about religious freedom and the Persecuted Church.

Islam on the Rise

According to Pew, as of 2010, Christianity was by far the world’s largest religion, with an estimated 2.2 billion adherents, nearly a third (31 percent) of all 6.9 billion people on Earth,” the Pew report says. “Islam was second, with 1.6 billion adherents, or 23 percent of the global population.”

But while Islam is currently the world’s second-largest religion (after Christianity), it is the fastest-growing major religion.

Islam is growing more rapidly than any other religion in the world, according to the Pew Research Center report that says the religion will nearly equal Christianity by 2050 before eclipsing it around 2070, if current trends continue.

Persecution of Christians on the Increase

In more than 100 nations around the world today Christians are aggressively persecuted for their faith.

In some of these nations it is illegal to own a Bible, to share your faith in Christ, to change your faith or teach to your children about Jesus. Those who boldly follow Christ—in spite of government edict or radical opposition—face harassment, arrest, torture and even death. Yet Christians continue to meet for worship and to witness for Christ, and the Church in restricted nations is growing.

  • An NGO report states that Christians continue to be slaughtered in Iraq, and that, “Islamic State Militants in Iraq are using Christian churches as torture chambers where they force Christians to either convert to Islam or die.”
  • 90,000 Christians were murdered for their faith around the globe this year, which amounts to one being killed every six minutes, Italy’s CESNUR religious study group said.
  • Christians are now the most persecuted religious group in the world, Massimo Introvigne, director of the Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR), told Vatican Radio.

Christians living in Islamic countries as well as in the world’s two most populous countries of India and China are set to face heightened threats of violent persecution at the hands of both state and non-state actors in 2017, Release International has warned.

The UK based group’s annual Persecution Trends report says that apart from the rise of atrocities against Christians in the Middle East, there’s also reason to worry about the safety of Christians to worry about the safety of Christians in India and China.

“In India, recorded attacks from Hindu militants have increased dramatically, and in China, pressure is building on unregistered churches,” Release International says.

“Around the world Christians face an increasing array of violent persecutors. These include the brutal Islamic State in the Middle East, heavily armed militants in Nigeria, and Hindu extremists in India,” says Release Chief Executive Paul Robinson, adding that the trend should serve as “a wake-up call to take our prayers and practical support for our persecuted family to a new level.”

Fortunately there is hope

For more than 20 years Christian Freedom International has been serving the Persecuted Church on the front lines of persecution around the world.

The mission of Christian Freedom International is to help Christians who are persecuted and suffering for their faith in Jesus Christ. We are a non-denominational human rights organization providing real solutions to conditions of oppression and misery caused by religious persecution. We reach the part of the persecuted Church that is the most repressed, most at risk, and most isolated. In areas of disaster, we provide immediate relief to Christians, and their communities, who are ignored by conventional aid organizations.

It is our privilege to minister to the Persecuted through Bible distribution, medical aid, resettlement assistance, advocacy, asylum case-work, and aid to the disabled; to sponsor pastors, children, schools, vocational training, and self-help initiatives, and to provide these services at no charge by CFI staff and volunteers. It is our goal to work together with Christians at home to ease the burdens of our struggling brethren around the world.

What you can do

The work of CFI is needed now more than ever. Your faithful prayers and financial support of CFI will enable us to continue our mission during these troubled times. Please pray, please give, please share the needs of the Persecuted Church with others.