Christians in India are facing ‘imminent existential threat’ under a systemic campaign of violent Hindu nationalist persecution. This is a finding from Destructive Lies, a shocking new report from the London School of Economics (LSE), commissioned by Open Doors, which has bene presented to Parliament. Thank you so much to everybody who invited their MP to attend this vital briefing, to find out more about the situation facing Indian believers.
The driving force behind this increasing persecution is Hindutva, an ideology that means people look down on Indian Christians and Muslims (and other religious minorities), claiming they aren’t true Indians because they have allegiances that lie outside India. The theory goes further, saying the country should be purified of their presence. This is leading to a systemic, and often carefully orchestrated, targeting of Christians and other religious minorities.
There are four key findings in the report:
1. Persecution pervades everyday life: Many have experiences of persecution, including exclusion, bullying and violence, where Christians have not hidden their faith.
2. Covid-19 has made persecution even worse: Not only have Christians been deliberately overlooked in the distribution of Covid-19 government aid, they have also been the subject of disinformation relating to the pandemic.
3. State officials are increasingly hostile: Some Indian states have anti-conversion laws that are used to accuse Christians of forcing people to convert to Christianity.
4. Attacks are shared as warnings on social media: OBefore attacking Christians and other religious minorities, extremists snatch the phones of their victims to prevent them documenting the incident. But the perpetrators themselves will record the attack and post it on social media to promote their own reputation amongst Hindutva groups and politicians and to warn religious minorities to stop practising their faith.
“What is really shocking is how un-seriously this is being taken by [social media] platforms and companies who … support human rights,” adds one of the authors of Destructive Lies, who have published the report anonymously for security reasons. “They should deal with it as seriously as if Christians were being persecuted like this in the U.S. or in the UK. I think they would have a different reaction to it then.”
Heavenly Father, thank You for the opportunity to present the disturbing findings of this report to Parliament. Powerfully use its words to compel those in power to use their influence to make life better for Christians and other religious minorities in India. May every single recommendation be fulfilled, leading to welcome change for people in India. Let this report and launch be a watershed moment. Amen.
This does sound bleak, but this summer you can act. Here’s three things you can do.
1. Act now: Stand for truth by emailing Nigel Adams, Minister for Asia, asking him to take action. You can do that here, it will only take a few minutes.
2. Walk with Them: Organise a sponsored walk. Choose your route and distance and start raising money and prayer for Christians facing intense persecution in India. Sign up and download our Walk Guide with stories, prayers and actions to take as you walk!
3. NANO – Truth or Lies: We’ve written a special NANO session outline that leaders can use with youth and small groups to help them understand some of the lies that are being told about Christians in India. Includes a video story, Bible reflection and activities.
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.