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Global religious violence database launched by watchdog groups


SANTA ANA, Calif. (BP) – A new searchable global database of violent religious persecution encompassing Christianity and other faiths is available free to the public, Global Christian Relief CEO David Curry announced Jan. 5.

Global Christian Relief finances the database maintained by the International Institute for Religious Freedom (IIRF), which will collect, record and analyze publicly sourced reports of persecution for the database, available here.

Curry markets the resource as the first and only events-based global religious freedom dataset that will also offer a high level of verification.

“This database helps give a voice to the voiceless by recording and sharing details of specific attacks suffered by Christians and other people of faith globally,” Curry said. “Our hope is that this remarkable resource will be utilized by anyone advocating and reporting on behalf of the persecuted church.”

Killings, arrests, abductions, church closings, forced marriages and forcibly displaced persons are among the violent incidents since 2022 searchable by country, religion and perpetrator, with 6,000 incidents already included. The list is designed as a resource for journalists, advocacy groups, government officials and others.

The database is not exhaustive of all religiously based violence in the searchable timeframe, but Curry states that as a goal as the database is expanded.

“This is one of the challenges you have in any research that you do,” Curry told Baptist Press, describing limited availability of information in some closed countries. “You’re always going to have an understanding with these kinds of indexes, because of the lack of information in some areas, this is going to be a baseline. … But this is what we can validate.”

Including the persecution of other faiths in the database will put Christian persecution in context, Curry said.

“When we talk about Christian persecution, too often it’s marginalized,” Curry told Baptist Press. “People either don’t believe Christians are persecuted, or they say, ‘compared to what other group?’ So you have to put everything into context to understand the scope and the size of the problem.”

The database will be a key contributor to Global Christian Relief’s Global Religious Freedom Index, a tool Global Christian Relief plans to launch this spring to measure religious freedom globally by tracking other elements of persecution in addition to violence, the organization said in a press release.

IIRF first launched a violent incidents database in 2011, discontinuing it a few years later, but relaunching in 2018 with a regional focus in Latin America. It adopted a global aim in 2021, and with the financial support of Global Christian Relief, launched the global database in January 2024.

Global Christian Relief was established in January 2023 to continue and expand the work of Open Doors USA, its predecessor. It is unaffiliated with Open Doors International and Open Doors U.S.

Curry also serves as a commissioner with the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.