Christians increasingly under threat: Catholic observers

VATICAN CITY, December 25, 2013 (AFP) – Thousands of Christians are killed every year because of their faith and the persecution is becoming more widespread, Catholic observers said as Christmas celebrations are increasingly marred by attacks in at-risk countries. Experts have pointed to three main types of anti-Christian violence — the main one being religious radicalism and particularly rising levels of Islamic as well as Buddhist and Hindu extremism.

Allen said there were also cases of Christians being attacked by other Christians, like US evangelicals singled out by traditionalist Catholics in Mexico.

The second threat is in states where governments see Christians as a possible subversive danger — like in Eritrea or North Korea, where tens of thousands of Christians have been imprisoned, Allen said.

There is also a persecution linked to businesses, mafia groups, paramilitaries or guerrillas that see Christian social teachings as a threat to their interests. Pope Francis addressed the killings in a recent interview saying there was “an ecumenism of blood”, meaning that Christians of all denominations including Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox are targeted.

“The narrative about Christianity in the Western mind is that a Christian is rich,