The year 2017 will bring a dramatic rise in violent persecution of Christians all over the globe, especially those in the Islamic world, according to a forecast in Release International's annual Persecution Trends report.
RI's annual report on persecution conveys much concern for Christians in Islamic countries, where they are at the crosshairs of both their governments and the Islamic State. The places of concern mentioned in the report on persecution include Iraq, Syria, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, India and China.
RI chief executive Paul Robinson said 2017 is poised to be a "harsh year" for so many Christians who live in areas where they are targeted by militants and authoritarian governments.
"Around the world Christians face an increasing array of violent persecutors," Robinson said. "These include the brutal Islamic State in the Middle East, heavily armed militants in Nigeria and Hindu extremists in India."
In light of the forecast, Robinson urged Christians to pray more and more for the persecuted Christians all over the world. He also called for increased support for these believers.
"Our report on the likely trends of persecution in 2017 is a wake-up call to take our prayers and practical support for our persecuted family to a new level," Robinson added.
Ahead of Christmas Day, Prince Charles spoke about Christian persecution in a guesting on Radio 4's "Thought for the Day." The Prince of Wales said the persecution of believers all around the world seem to be overlooked, The Catholic Herald reports.
Prince Charles touted religious liberty as an urgent problem worldwide. He noted that many Christians beset by this problem are facing the choice between life and death every day.
For Prince Charles, the existing intolerance and ongoing violence against Christians are reminiscent of the "dark days of the 1930s." He then called on all people to respect, accept, and value others regardless of their religious background.