This, however, was an improvement over 2015, when 105,000 Christians were martyred.
Illustration: The Arabic equivalent of “N” for “Nazarene,” the symbol used by Islamists to mark Christians and their property for destruction. By Phillip Barrington, CC0, Public Domain.
From Nick Hallett, Study: Christians Most Persecuted Religion In the World:
Massimo Introvigne, Director of the Centre for Studies on New Religions (Cesnur), told Vatican Radio that around half a billion Christians in the world are unable to express their faith completely freely, while around 90,000 – one every six minutes – died for their faith in the past year alone.
Referring to statistics from the Centre for the Study of Global Christianity, Mr Introvigne said around 70 per cent of Christians murdered in 2016 died in tribal conflicts in Africa. These deaths were included, he said, because very often they involved Christians who refuse to take up arms for reasons of conscience.
“The other 30 per cent, or 27,000, were killed in terror attacks, the destruction of Christian villages, or government persecution,” he added.
He told Vatican Radio that the Catholic Church is currently considering possible sainthood for individual Christians killed in territories controlled by the Islamic State terror group. Some Christians, he said, had risked almost certain death by staying in these territories to give testament to their faith.
The statistics, due to be released next month, do offer some hope, however, as the number of Christians killed is down from 105,000 in 2015 – although, Mr Introvigne points out, they remain the most persecuted religious group on the planet.