A new report prepared for the British government says Christianity is “by far the most widely persecuted religion” and recommends the government become the worldwide leader in promoting religious liberty.
“How grave does this situation have to become before we act?” the report says.
The 176-page report on persecuted Christians was commission by Jeremy Hunt, British secretary of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs, and prepared by the Rt. Rev. Philip Mounstephen, bishop of Truro. An interim report was released in May.
The final report outlines the problem of the persecution of Christians worldwide before listing recommendations on how to help the universal church. It was released July 4.
“It is estimated that one-third of the world’s population suffers from religious persecution in some form, with Christians being the most persecuted group,” the report says, quoting data showing that in 2016, Christians were targeted in 144 countries – an increase from 125 in 2015.
In some regions, the report says, the “level and nature of persecution” of Christians is “arguably coming close to meeting the international definition of genocide” adopted by the United Nations. It references killings by ISIS and Boko Haram.
The report was prepared for the British government but says of other nations: “The need for governments to give increasing priority and specific targeted support to this faith community is not only necessary but increasingly urgent.”