Religious persecution pandemic needs cure, too

  • Written by:

Photo by: Nabil al-Jurani
Christian sects and religious minorities face brutal persecution in areas controlled by the Islamic State. Activists say an official finding by the Obama administration that the persecution amounts to genocide should set in motion a number of legal and financial sanctions and give the issue a much greater urgency around the world. (Associated Press)        


The coronavirus pandemic and its quarantine are taking a huge toll on our lives. The freedom of worship, association, movement and expression — basic freedoms engrained in who we are as Americans – have all been stifled.

Yet, we hold onto the hope that those basic freedoms and comforts in life will return some day. But for hundreds of millions around the globe, who suffer religious persecution and violence, such luxuries and normalcy are as foreign to them as the coronavirus-induced interruption of daily life is to us.

Simply because they believe differently, extremists and governments persecute, imprison and kill people of faith on a daily basis. Even neighbors, with whom we take comfort in these times, pose a threat to people of different beliefs across the globe.

Sadly, this pandemic of religious intolerance and persecution is growing — spreading faster and further every year. More than 8 out of every 10 people live in a place where governments put severe restrictions on freedom of religion and belief. In the last decade, social hostility against religious communities has almost doubled globally.  

In Communist China, the government controls what people can believe and even how they can worship. Dissenters are sent to forced re-education through labor camps where they face torture and organ harvesting.