In Nigeria, Fulani militants look set to continue devastating attacks against Christians in the north and central Nigeria. In the first six months of 2018 alone, they killed up to 6,000 and drove 50,000 from their homes. The heavily armed Fulani militants are following in the footsteps of Boko Haram by driving Christians out of the north. According to a Release International partner, the attacks are “a strategic modern-day jihad”.
China has seen a sharp increase in government opposition to religion, including Christianity. Tough new rules, which came into effect in 2018, have banned children and young people from church meetings. In some areas, house churches unwilling to come under state control have split down in order to survive. They continue to meet in small groups limited to 15 people to avoid coming under scrutiny by the authorities. China has been continuing a policy of removing Christian symbols and closing churches. Increasingly, they are targeting the larger unregistered house churches.
In India, attacks against Christians by Hindu nationalists are on the rise. Right-wing Hinduism which is intolerant of other faiths has been gaining ground since the BJP took power in 2014. Violent mobs have broken up prayer meetings, several states have passed laws prohibiting so-called forced conversion (effectively outlawing all evangelism), and pastors have been attacked.
One pastor told Release International how he had been thrown off a moving train for carrying Bibles in a rucksack. His attackers yelled, “These people are spoiling our religion!” and threw him onto the platform. They fractured his skull, shoulder bone and ankle, and knocked out several teeth. The pastor continues to preach the Gospel despite opposition from hard-liners.
Other countries of specific concern for 2019 include North Korea, Eritrea and Pakistan ─ where Christian Asia Bibi is still not free to leave, despite being acquitted of blasphemy.
Source: Release International
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