Skip links

Religious persecution on rise as Jews, Christians prepare for holy celebrations

Ultra-orthodox Jews prepare special matzoh, a traditional handmade Passover unleavened bread, at a bakery in Jerusalem, Wednesday, April 1, 2015. Jews are forbidden to eat leavened foodstuffs during the Passover holiday, which celebrates the biblical story of the Israelites' escape from slavery and exodus from Egypt. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
Ultra-orthodox Jews prepare special matzoh, a traditional handmade Passover unleavened bread, at a bakery in Jerusalem, Wednesday, April 1, 2015. Jews are forbidden to eat leavened foodstuffs during the Passover holiday, which celebrates the biblical story of the Israelites’ escape from slavery and exodus from Egypt. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

In a year when Passover and Holy Week fall on the calendar together, at a time when religious persecution is rising around the globe, the themes of freedom and liberation are in the forefront of many believers’ minds, even when they are not at the top of the news.

“There really isn’t a lot being said about the persecutions, for whatever reason,” said the Rev. Anthony Sciorra of Sacred Heart University, speaking before Al-Shabab gunmen killed 147 people Thursday at a Kenyan university.

“I’m a little bit mystified by it. It’s part of a bigger question about religious fundamentalism. Persecutions are taking place in more places throughout the world.”

According to the Pew Research Center, the number of countries where Jews are mistreated reached a seven-year high in 2013, although overall incidents hostile to religion in general dropped from a third of countries to 27 percent.

While persecution has declined somewhat, in the countries where it occurs, “These types of hostilities run the gamut from vandalism of religious property and desecration of sacred texts to violent assaults resulting in deaths and injuries,” according to the Pew report, “Latest Trends in Religious Restrictions and Hostilities.”

The report doesn’t take into account ISIS, however, which has attacked minority Christians in Syria and Iraq and destroyed religious artifacts.

J. Nelson Jennings, director of the Overseas Ministries Study Center in New Haven, said, “What I understand from people who study these things is that there is more persecution in the 20th century than in all human history combined. I really do think that people of faith do need to pray. I really believe that.”

Read more at NHRegister.com…

Share with Friends:

Leave a comment