Religious intolerance is a global constant. The defeat of the Islamic State is good news, but persecutors were active before ISIS arose and persecutors will remain active despite the group’s collapse. In many nations freedom of conscience is seen as an existential threat.
Although common, even pervasive, religious persecution is complex. The most obvious form is government punishment of those who hold disfavored beliefs. Equally destructive, however, can be social intolerance, often backed by private violence and government indifference. In many nations both are present.
All faiths endure persecution, but Christians suffer the most. In its latest annual report, the group Open Doors figures that 215 million Christians were subject to high levels of persecution. More than 3,000 were killed for their faith. Thousands more were raped or abducted. Roughly 800 churches were attacked.
The list of the worst fifty is here.