'Hall of Shame' 2016 report includes US in top 12 worst countries for Christians

The United States is now included in the top 12 worst countries for Christians, according to the 2016 annual "Hall of Shame" report released by persecution watchdog International Christian Concern.

(REUTERS / Kimberly White)People walk in front of a church on the campus of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, October 16, 2011.

For the first time, a Washington D.C.-based group has included the U.S. in the "Hall of Shame" list of the worst Christian persecutors. The report contains three categories of the said countries --- "Worst of the Worst," "Core Countries" and "New and Noteworthy," Religion News details.

The U.S., Russia, and Mexico fall under the "New and Noteworthy" category of the "Hall of Shame" report for 2016. ICC president Jeff King explained that the three countries have been included in the list because of the rising concern over religious discrimination there.

"We felt it was very important this year that we highlight three countries where religious discrimination and persecution are deemed unusual but have reached a certain threshold of concern. These are Mexico, Russia, and sadly, the United States," said King.

"While conditions in the US are in no way comparable to other countries on the list, a certain segment of the culture and the courts seem to be intent on driving faith out of the public square. There have been too many court cases with bad decisions to miss the clear trend line," King added.

Aside from that, the "Hall of Shame" report for 2016 highlights the plight of Christians in Egypt, Iraq, North Korea, Nigeria, Pakistan, Syria and other countries. Saudi Arabia clinched the top spot in the "core of the Hall of Shame" because it has funded radical Islamic groups all over the world for decades.

Another point of concern brought up by the ICC report is the increasing number of attacks on Christians in India, which coincides with the "rise of the Bharatiya Janata Party." The situation, said King, should push the churches all over the world to help the Christians suffering for their faith.

In November last year, another persecution watchdog group, Aid to the Church in Need, released a report warning that the Christian persecution in seven nations has reached a level that "can scarcely get worse." These countries are Afghanistan, northern Iraq, Nigeria, North Korea, Somalia, Syria and Saudi Arabia, The Christian Post relays.

The report titled "Religious Freedom in the World" documents the cases of religious intolerance from June 2014 to June 2016 - the window period which saw the rise of the Islamic State. It also showed that the state of religious liberty worsened in 14 nations, and the conditions only reflected improvements in Egypt, Bhutan, and Qatar.

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