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“They did evil things to us. They beat us and raped us. The worst of all was girls aged nine who were raped.”(1)
These are the words of Rita Habib, a Christian woman from Iraq’s Nineveh Plains. Ms Habib described how Daesh (ISIS) extremists kidnapped her from Qaraqosh, a mainly Christian town. Initially, she was held in nearby Mosul, before being transferred to Syria. There she was repeatedly bought and sold in Daesh’s sex slave market. Her account of persecution (See case study ‘Rita Habib – Daesh (ISIS) captive returns home to Qaraqosh, Iraq’ on p.10) is one of many received by Aid to the Church in Need, the Catholic charity for Christians who suffer for their faith. As an organisation providing emergency and pastoral relief in nearly 140 countries around the world, ACN is committed to chronicling and assessing human rights violations against Christians around the world today. Persecuted and Forgotten? A Report on Christians oppressed for their Faith 2017-19 summarises the findings of ACN’s ongoing research, assessing recent patterns of hatred and discrimination. This 2019 edition of Persecuted and Forgotten? examines key developments in 12 countries of core concern for Christians suffering human rights abuses. Covering a 25-month period from July 2017 to July 2019 (inclusive), the report draws on fact-finding trips carried out by Aid to the Church in Need staff to countries noted for persecution against Christians, for example northern Nigeria, Pakistan, Syria and other parts of the world which cannot be revealed because of security concerns. This report shows that, again and again, in Egypt, Pakistan and elsewhere, Christian women suffer the most, with reports of abductions, forced conversions and sex attacks.(2) In spite of the growing wealth of information on the subject, the extent of the crisis facing Christians persecuted for their faith remains little known and understood. While statistical research has offered considerable insight into the topic of Christian persecution, some data has not stood up to scrutiny and is unable to demonstrate that the violence in question is religiously motivated.(3) That said, studies consistently show that Christians suffer significantly high levels of persecution and intolerance. In June 2018, the Pew Research Center stated that over the course of 2016 Christians suffered harassment in 144 countries.(4) By this calculation, Christians emerge as the world’s “most widely targeted”(5) faith group, slightly ahead of Islam.(6) In January 2019, Open Doors estimated in its World Watch List for 2018 that 73 countries with 245 million Christians “showed extreme, very high or high levels of persecution”(7). This was up from 58 countries with 215 million Christians in 2017.(8) The same survey showed that every day on average 11 Christians are killed for their faith in the 50 worst-offending countries.(9) This evaluation does not set out to be comprehensive. ACN’s essentially qualitative assessment is unable to provide statistics to facilitate a full comparative analysis. In addition, state oppression is entirely different by nature from sporadic acts of violence – and conditions of persecution are not uniform across any one particular country.

To find out more about Christians oppressed for their Faith in the world please download the PDF Report

1 Karzan Sulaivany, „Christian woman kidnapped by IS reunited with father after four years“, Kurdistan 24, 5. April 2018, https://www.kurdistan24.net/en/news/987a77c3-56c3-44b7-a8f9-e6a8d63d0e00? (alle Seiten am 6. August 2019 abgerufen).

2 Helene Fisher und Elizabeth Miller, „Gender Persecution: World Watch List 2018 Analysis and Implications“, Open Doors International, März 2018, https://www.worldwatchmonitor.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Gendered-persecution-WWL-2018-analysis-and-implications.pdf.

3 Ruth Alexander, „Are there really 100,000 new Christian martyrs every year?“, BBC News, 12. November 2013, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-24864587.

4 Katayoun Kishi, „Key findings on the global rise in religious restrictions“, Pew Research Center, 21. Juni 2018,


5 ebd.

6 Die gleiche Studie des Pew Research Center ergab, dass 2016 Muslime in 142 Ländern Schikanen ausgesetzt waren.

7 World Watch List Trends, Open Doors, https://www.opendoors.org.za/christian-persecution/world-watch-list-2017-trends/.

8 ebd.

9 Lindy Lowry, „11 Christians killed every day for their decision to follow Jesus“, Open Doors, 13. März 2019, https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/stories/11-christians-killed-every-day-for-their-decision-to-follow-jesus/.

10 John Pontifex, Give them this day their daily bread (Bericht über eine Informations- und Projektbeurteilungsreise nach Syrien), Aid to the Church in Need (UK), Juli 2019, https://acnuk.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/386919-ACN-1907-6pp-Report-v6-FINAL-1.pdf.

11 Lockie, Alex, „ISIS has been militarily defeated in Iraq and Syria“, Business Insider, 22. November 2017, https://www.businessinsider.com.au/isismilitary-defeat-iraq-syria-2017-11.

12 „Car bomb near church in Syria wounds several“, Catholic Herald, 15. Juli 2019, https://catholicherald.co.uk/news/2019/07/15/car-bomb-nearchurch-in-syria-wounds-several/.

13 „Islamic State and the crisis in Iraq and Syria in maps“, BBC News, 28. März 2018, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-27838034.

14 Die Regierung des Irak verkündete den Sieg über den IS in Mossul am 9. Juli 2017; John Pontifex, „Mosul: Barely 40 Christians home“, Aid to the Church in Need (UK) News, 9. Juli 2019, https://acnuk.org/news/mosul-barely-40-christians-home/.

15 Caroline Cox und Ewelina Ochab, „Helping Religious Minorities Persecuted by Daesh“, Providence – A Journal of Christianity and American Foreign Policy, 15. November 2017, https://providencemag.com/2017/11/helping-religious-minorities-persecuted-daesh/.

16 Treffen mit Erzbischof Bashar Warda von Erbil, Jeremy Hunt (Facebook-Seite), 21. Mai 2019

17 John Pontifex, „Iraq & UK: Save us from disappearing – Archbishop asks Foreign Secretary“, Aid to the Church in Need (UK) News, 22. Mai 2019,


18 Treffen mit Erzbischof Bashar Warda von Erbil, Jeremy Hunt (Facebook-Seite), 21. Mai 2019

19 Die Regierung des Irak verkündete den Sieg über den IS in Mossul am 9. Juli 2017; John Pontifex, „Mosul: Barely 40 Christians home“, Aid to the Church in Need (UK) News, 9. Juli 2019, https://acnuk.org/news/mosul-barely-40-christians-home/.

20 Zaid Sabah, „Mosul Archbishop Says Iraq Christians Flee From ISIL Militants“, The Tundra Tabloids, 30. Juni 2014, http://tundratabloids.com/2014/06/30/christians-fleeing-from-mosul-and-vicinity-from-isis-jihadis/.

21 „Iraq: Christians fearful as Islamists take over the city“, Independent Catholic News, 11. Juni 2014, https://www.indcatholicnews.com/news/24938; John Pontifex, „Mosul: Barely 40 Christians home“, Aid to the Church in Need (UK) News, 9. Juli 2019, https://acnuk.org/news/mosul-barely-40-christians-home/.

22 Catherine Sheehan, „Ministering in the shadow of ISIS was ‘the best time of my life’, says Sydney-based archbishop of Mosul“, The Catholic Weekly (Sydney), 13. März 2017, https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/ministering-in-the-shadow-of-isis-was-the-best-time-of-my-life-says-sydneybased-archbishop-of-mosul/.

23 „Families returned to Nineveh Plains“, Nineveh Reconstruction Committee, 8. Juni 2019, https://www.nrciraq.org/reconstruction-process/.

24 „After ISIS, Nineveh’s Christians now face new threat from Shabak Shiite militias“, AsiaNews.it, 14. Februar 2019, http://asianews.it/newsen/After-ISIS,-Nineveh’s-Christians-now-face-new-threat-from-Shabak-Shiite-militias–46250.html.

25 Tim Stanley, „In Iraq, Christians thought things would get better. They did. At first“, Daily Telegraph, 13. Juli 2019, S. 14-15ff.

26 Dale Gavlak, „Iraq’s Top Catholic Cleric Concerned About Future of Country’s Christians“, Voice of America, 16. Juli 2019, https://www.voanews.com/middle-east/iraqs-top-catholic-cleric-concerned-about-future-countrys-christians.

27 Simon Caldwell, „Iraqi archbishop fears more persecution, says IS went underground”, Crux, 9. Oktober 2018, https://cruxnow.com/church-inasia-oceania/2018/10/09/iraqi-archbishop-fears-more-persecution-says-is-went-underground/.

28 ebd.

29 Louisa Loveluck und Mustafa Salim, „Hundreds of Islamic State militants are slipping back into Iraq. Their fight isn’t over“, The Washington Post, Juli 2019, https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/world/hundreds-of-islamic-state-militants-are-slipping-back-into-iraq-their-fight-isnt-over/ar-AAEGIHq.

30 John Newton, „Christians ‘close to extinction’“, Aid to the Church in Need (UK) News, 6. August 2019, https://acnuk.org/news/iraq-christiansclose-to-extinction-2/.

31 Kent Hill, „Christian Persecution in the Midst of Chaos: The Cauldron of Iraq and Syria“, Religious Freedom Institute, 17. April 2017, https://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/cornerstone/2017/4/17/christian-persecution-in-the-midst-of-chaos-the-cauldron-of-iraq-and-syria.

32 „About 1 Million Christians Have Fled Syria Since 2011, Says Chaldean Catholic Bishop“, Christianity Daily, 22. März 2016, http://www.christianitydaily.com/articles/7821/20160322/1-million-christians-fled-syria-2011-chaldean-catholic-bishop.htm.

33 Pierre Macqueron, „Syria: The Bleeding Wound of Emigration“, Aid to the Church (International), https://acninternational.org/interviews/syria-the-bleeding-wound-of-emigration/.

34 ebd.

35 ebd.

36 Dennis Peters, „Christians in Syria divided on returning“, Aid to the Church in Need (International) – Christians of Syria, 9. März 2019, https://www.christiansofsyria.org/christians-in-syria-divided-on-returning/.

37 Pierre Macqueron, „Syria: The Bleeding Wound of Emigration“, Aid to the Church in Need (International) – Christians of Syria, 11. April 2019, https://www.christiansofsyria.org/syria-the-bleeding-wound-of-emigration/.

38 John Pontifex, Give them this day their daily bread (Bericht über eine Informations- und Projektbeurteilungsreise nach Syrien), Aid to the Church in Need (UK), Juli 2019, https://acnuk.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/386919-ACN-1907-6pp-Report-v6-FINAL-1.pdf.

39 John Pontifex, Reisen nach Syrien 2017-19.

40 „Syria says “progress” towards talks on post-war constitution“, MENAFN, 11. Juli 2019, https://menafn.com/1098750089/Syria-saysprogress-towards-talks-on-postwar-constitution?src=Rss.

41 „Egypt attack: Gunmen kill seven Coptic Christians in bus ambush“, The Guardian, 3. November 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/nov/03/egypt-attack-gunmen-kill-coptic-christians-bus-ambush.

42 Ruth Michaelson, „Egypt: Isis claims responsibility for Coptic church bombings“, The Guardian, 9. April 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/09/egypt-copticchurch-bombing-death-toll-rises-tanta-cairo.

43 Koptisch-orthodoxer Erzbischof Angaelos von London, Erklärung, Juli 2019.

44 Aletha Adu, „Our favourite prey’ Christian father & son ‘brutally burnt alive & shot’ by ISIS jihadis“, Express, 23. Februar 2017, https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/770972/Coptic-Christian-father-son-burnt-alive-shot-ISIS-jihadi-Egypt-al-Masri-terror-massacre.

45 „Egypt: Terrorist attacks drastically declined in 2018“, MEMO: Middle East Monitor, 1. Januar 2019, https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20190101-egypt-terrorist-attacks-drastically-declined-in-2018/.

46 „World Watch List Report 2019“, Open Doors, S. 22.

47 Koptisch-orthodoxer Erzbischof Angaelos von London, Erklärung, 17. Juli 2019.

48 ebd.

49 Dale Gavlak, „Iraq’s Top Catholic Cleric Concerned About Future of Country’s Christians“, Voice of America, 16. Juli 2019, https://www.voanews.com/middle-east/iraqs-top-catholic-cleric-concerned-about-future-countrys-christians.

50 „Ethiopian Christians killed by Daesh“, CSW, 20. April 2015, https://www.csw.org.uk/2015/04/20/news/2564/vacancies.htm.

51 Marta Petrosillo und John Newton, „Burkina Faso: Stop support for jihadists – says bishop“, Aid to the Church in Need (UK) News, 5. Juli 2019, https://acnuk.org/news/burkina-faso-stop-support-for-jihadists-says-bishop/.

52 Matthias Böhnke, „They may have guns, but we have Jesus!“, Aid to the Church in Need (International) News, 3. Juli 2019, https://acninternational.org/news/niger-they-may-have-guns-but-we-have-jesus/.

53 ebd.

54 Murcadha O Flaherty und Amélie de la Hougue, „New Cardinal highlights threat of ‘extremist Islam’ from abroad“, Aid to the Church in Need (UK) News, 15. Juni 2018, https://acnuk.org/news/madagascar-new-cardinal-highlights-threat-of-extremist-islam-from-abroad/.

55 Open Doors World Watch List 2019, S. 4.

56 John Pontifex, John Newton und Murcadha O Flaherty, Nigeria – A New Emergency, Aid to the Church in Need, Juni 2018, https://acnuk.org/wpcontent/uploads/2017/02/Nigeria-A-New-Emergency.pdf.

57 „Central African Republic“, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom Report 2018, S. 30, https://www.uscirf.gov/sites/default/files/2019USCIRFAnnualReport.pdf.

58 ebd.; „Central African Republic: ‘Everything was in flames’. The attack on a displaced persons camp in Alindao“, Amnesty International, 14. Dezember 2018, https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/afr19/9573/2018/en/.

59 „Sudanese authorities demolish Evangelical church in Khartoum suburb“, Sudan Tribune, 14. Februar 2018, http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article64728.

60 „Sudan arrests, tortures Christians in Darfur over apostasy charges“, Sudan Tribune, 31. Oktober 2018, http://sudantribune.com/spip.php?article66526.

61 „Report Claims Over 70 Churches in Nuba Region Destroyed or Burned Over Past Year“, International Christian Concern, 15. März 2019, https://www.persecution.org/2019/03/15/report-claims-70-churches-nuba-region-destroyed-burned-past-year/ (abgerufen am 18. Juni 2019).

62 Open Doors World Watch List 2019, S. 4.

63 US-Außenministerium, International Religious Freedom Report 2018, 21. Juni 2019, Landesbericht Marokko, https://www.state.gov/reports/2018-report-on-international-religious-freedom/morocco/.

64 ebd, Zitat aus dem Moroccan Association of Human Rights Report 2017-18.

65 John Pontifex, „Eritrea: Sick forced from their beds as 21 hospitals and clinics forced to shut“, Aid to the Church in Need (UK) News, 20. Juni 2019,

https://acnuk.org/news/eritrea-sick-forced-from-beds-as-21-hospitals-and-clinics-forced-to-shut/. 66 Kimberly Winston, „North Korea is worst place for Christian persecution, group says“, Crux, 13. Januar 2018, https://cruxnow.com/globalchurch/2018/01/13/north-korea-worst-place-christian-persecution-group-says/.

67 Yaron Steinbuch, „Kim Jong Un bans Christmas, makes North Korea worship grandma“, New York Post, 25. Dezember 2016, https://nypost.com/2016/12/25/kim-jong-un-bans-christmas-makesnorth-korea-worship-grandma/.

68 Francis Wakefield, „AFP releases names of casualties of Jolo blast“, Manila Bulletin, 29. Januar 2019,https://news.mb.com.ph/2019/01/29/afp-releases-names-of-casualties-of-jolo-blast/.

69 „Five Abu Sayyaf members surrender over Philippine church bombing“,Reuters, 4. Februar 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/usphilippines-security-idUSKCN1PT06Z.

70 „ISIS claims responsibility for deadly bombings at church in the Philippines“, CBS News, 28. Januar 2019, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/jolo-cathedral-bombings-philippines-2019-01-27/.

71 Lizzie Deardo, „Sri Lanka bombings: ISIS claims responsibility for deadly church and hotel attacks on Easter Sunday“, Catholic News Agency 23. April 2019, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/sri-lanka-bombings-isis-terror-church-attack-easter-islamic-state-a8882231.html.

72 „US official wounded in Easter Sunday bomb attacks in Sri Lanka succumbs to injuries“, ColomboPage, 8. Mai 2019, http://www.colombopage.com/archive_19A/May08_1557326496CH.php.

73 Marta Petrosillo, „Rapporto Annuale 2018 di Aiuto all Chiesa che Soffre oltre 111 milioni di Euro a sostegno della chiesa di tutto il mondo“, Aid to the Church in Need (Italy), 14. Juni 2019, https://acs-italia.org/acs-notizie-dal-mondo/rapporto-annuale-2018-di-aiuto-alla-chiesa-che-soffreoltre-111-milioni-di-euro-a-sostegno-della-chiesa-di-tutto-il-mondo/.

74 Ed. A. Saman, Human Rights Monitor „A report on the Religious Minorities in Pakistan, National Commission for Justice and Peace“ (Pakistan Catholic Bishops’ Conference), Mai 2018.

75 US-Außenministerium, 2018 Report on International Religious Freedom: Pakistan, 21. Juni 2019, Pakistan (Executive Summary), https://www.state.gov/reports/2018-report-on-international-religious-freedom/pakistan/.

76 „Suicide bombers kill nine at Christian church in Pakistan“, The Guardian, 17. Dezember 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/17/pakistani-christians-suicide-bomb-attack-quetta-church.

77 Persecution Relief, Bericht 2017, S. 5; Persecution Relief, Bericht 2018, S. 22; Persecution Relief, Bericht für das 1. Quartal 2019, S. 4.

78 Abbie Llewelyn, „Christianity Crackdown: Hindu extremists Attack Indian believers – 100 churches Shut Down“, Daily Express, 27. März 2019, https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1105848/india-news-Christian-persecution-hindu-shut-church-violence-christianity-crackdown.

79 Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, Census of India, 2011. Population by religious community, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, http://www.censusindia.gov.in/2011census/C-01.html; Karan Pradhan, “Religion in numbers: what 2011 Census reveals about India’s communities”, FirstPost India, 27. August 2015, http://www.firstpost.com/politics/religion-in-numbers-what-the-2011-census-revealedabout-trends-across-indias-communities-2408740.html.

80 US-Außenministerium, 2018 Report on International Religious Freedom: India, 21. Juni 2019, https://www.state.gov/reports/2018-report-on-international-religious-freedom/india/.

81 ebd.

82 Maximilian Lutz, „Modi wants a Hindu state“, Aid to the Church in Need (International), 5. Mai 2018, https://acninternational.org/interviews/modi-wants-a-hindu-state/.

83 Zahlen nur bis 25. Dezember 2017. Die endgültigen Zahlen für das gesamte Jahr könnten höher sein. „Sri Lanka sees more than 90 attacks against Christians in 2017“, Tamil Guardian, 25. Dezember 2017, https://www.tamilguardian.com/content/sri-lanka-sees-more-90-attacks-againstchristians-2017.

84 Human Rights Without Frontiers, op. cit.

85 United States Commission on International Religious Freedom Report 2018, Einleitung, S. 1, https://www.uscirf.gov/sites/default/files/2019USCIRFAnnualReport.pdf.

86 Lily Kuo, „In China, they’re closing churches, jailing pastors – and even rewriting scripture“, The Observer, 13. Januar 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/13/china-christians-religious-persecution-translation-bible.

87 „China“, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom Report 2018, https://www.uscirf.gov/countries/china.

88 Hugh Tomlinson und Haroon Janjua, „Christian Asia Bibi flees Pakistan for Canada“, The Times, 8. Mai 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/world/christian-woman-asia-bibi-flees-pakistan-for-canada-zz60g99bc.

89 „Lord Ahmad appointed as PM’s Special Envoy to promote religious freedom“, GOV.UK, 4. Juli 2018, https://www.gov.uk/government/news/lordahmad-appointed-as-pms-special-envoy-to-promote-religious-freedom.

90 „Speech of the Bishop of Truro, the Rt. Revd. Philip Mounstephen at the Launch of the Independent Review of FCO support for Persecuted Christians“, 30. Januar 2019, https://christianpersecutionreview.org.uk/speech-of-the-bishop-of-truro-the-at-the-launch-of-the-independent-review-of-fco-support-for-persecuted-christians/. 91 Balázs Puskás, „The first ever ministerial to advance religious freedom– July 24-26, Washington DC“, S4C News, 28. Juli 2018, en.s4c.news/2018/07/28/the-first-ever-ministerial-to-advance-religious-freedom-july-24-26-washington-dc/.

92 Michael R Pompeo, „Remarks at the Close of the Ministerial Advancing Religious Freedom“, US-Außenministerium, 26. Juli 2018, https://www.state.gov/remarks-at-the-close-of-the-ministerial-advancing-religious-freedom/.

93 Jeffrey Cimmino, „US Pledges $300 Million in Aid to Iraqi Christians“, The Washington Free Beacon, 19. Oktober 2018, https://freebeacon.com/national-security/us-pledges-300-million-aidiraqi-christians/.

94 Quellen von KIRCHE IN NOT im Irak.

95 Glen Owen und Abul Taher, „Revealed: Theresa May ‘blocked asylum from Pakistani Christian’ locked up for blasphemy despite UK playing host to hijackers, extremists and rapists“, MailOnline, 24. November 2018, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6425339/Theresa-blocked asylum-application-Pakistani-Christian.html.

96 Bishop of Truro’s Independent Review for the Foreign Secretary of FCO Support for Persecuted Christians – Final Report and Recommendations, https://christianpersecutionreview.org.uk/report/.

97 @BorisJohnson, 8. Juli 2019.

98 Harriet Sherwood, „UK government urged to take steps to prevent persecution of Christians“, The Guardian, 8. Juli 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/08/uk-government-urged-to-take-steps-to-prevent-persecution-of-christians.

99 „Jeremy Hunt backs stronger protections for Christians worldwide“, BBC News, 8. Mai 2019, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-48907546.

100 Harriet Sherwood, „Prince Charles calls for co-existence in speech on persecuted Christians“, The Guardian, 4. Dezember 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/dec/04/prince-charles-calls-for-greater-understanding-between-faiths.

101 „Pope Francis Expresses Wish to Visit Iraq in 2020“, Zenit, 10. Juni 2019, https://zenit.org/articles/pope-francis-expresses-wish-to-visit-iraq-in-2020/.

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