A pigeon flies past a metal cross at a Catholic church in Beijing April 7, 2005.
Jason Lee / Reuters

In some corners of the world, Christian persecution is apparently on the rise, fueled, as The Guardian recently put it, “by Islamic extremism and repressive governments.” The report (and others like it) notes that extremists persecute Christians and non-Christians alike, but it leaves the impression that this trend is recent and primarily concerns Christians living in the Muslim world. That is incorrect: religious discrimination is an equal opportunity endeavor.

There is little doubt that religious freedom is under serious threat in many Muslim-majority countries. Some of the world’s most repressed religious minorities include Egypt’s Christian Coptic minority; the Baha’i in Iran; the Ahmadis in Pakistan; and Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, and Shiite Muslims in Saudi Arabia. In these places, religious repression has been a ubiquitous fact of life for years, irrespective of a person’s creed. Yet religious repression is not limited to the autocratic Muslim-majority governments.


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