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Persecution of Christians in India Will Rise in 2019: Christian Outfit

Monday, January 14, 2019, 13:46 (IST)

The persecution of Christians worldwide is set to rise in 2019, an international Christian organization warned.

Persecution against Christians is rising particularly in India, China, and Nigeria. This year it is going to be worse, warned Release International, a U.K.-based charity that helps supports persecuted Christians around the world and a partner organization of Voice of the Martyrs.

"These are countries that have long been on the list but we're seeing an upwards curve, an alarming rise in persecution," Andrew Boyd, Release International spokesman, told Fox News.

The Christian outfit has been helping persecuted Christians for 50 years.

"I have no doubt that persecution is increasing and it is alarming and the contexts are different," said Boyd.

"You have militant Islam in Nigeria; China, which is communism; India, which is militant Hinduism; North Korea which is a weird blend of communism and Emporer worship. There is an increasing intolerance and it's being played out in violence and we know it because of the reports that are coming from our partners on the ground," he added.

North Korea, Eritrea, and Pakistan, are other countries of specific concern for 2019.

In India, persecution against Christians is coming from Hindu militants that are on the rise. Since the government of India Prime Minister Narendra Modi took power in 2014, Hindu militants see no place for Muslims or Christians in India. The extremism has been emboldened by the ruling party.

There has been a rise in attacks on pastors, worship gatherings and prayer meetings being broken up, as several states in the nation are passing anti-conversion laws.

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.

In Nigeria, Fulani militants are the biggest threat for Christians. In the first half of 2018 alone, the militants killed up to 6,000 and drove 50,000 from their homes.

"So if you take Nigeria, everybody knows about Boko Haran, but hugely unreported are Fulani militants, Muslim herdsman, being armed and they are attacking Christian villages in the north of the country and the tactics that they are using appear to be well coordinated and planned," Boyd said, adding they are a "much, much more serious menace than Boko Haran."

China has seen an alarming increase in government opposition to Christianity.

The Chinese government is forcing believers to renounce their faith, demanding loyalty to the atheist Communist party in power. The government has vandalized crosses, burned Bibles, shut down churches.

"Tough new laws were brought in 2018, and we've seen high profile unregistered churches, house churches, are now being closed down," said Boyd.

"Our partners are saying the Chinese government is now emboldened because of the lack of protests from the West," he added.

Release International is calling on the United States to do more to help.

"The United States is so important. When the U.S. declares a country of particular concern the world sits up and takes notice," said Boyd.

"Your role really matters when it comes to religious persecution. You give out a message that the world is watching," he added.