Attacks against Christians around the world have increased significantly last year, human rights organizations say, and raising awareness among Americans is difficult because news coverage in part is tailored to consumer demand.
"I don't believe most Americans have an accurate understanding of the real state of Christian persecution around the world," David Curry, CEO of Open Doors USA, told The Daily Beast.
"But for news consumers to clamor for such coverage, they need to be aware of the extent of the problem."
Based in Santa Ana, Calif., Open Doors USA
is part of an international organization that tracks and brings awareness of Christian persecution.
More than 7,000 Christians were killed last year because of their faith — "almost 3,000 more than the previous year," Open Doors told the Daily Beast.
The largest areas that have seen the fastest growth are the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia, he said. The numbers are expected to climb this year.
Last month, human rights organizations pressured the Obama administration to declare deaths of Christians by the Islamic State genocide.
In announcing his decision, Secretary of State John Kerry cited the beheading of 49 Egyptian and Ethiopian Coptic Christians in 2015, among other atrocities.
"We were the sole secular humanist organization to press the State Department to label ISIS' crimes against Muslims and Christians as genocide," Paul Fidalgo, the communications director for the Center for Inquiry, told the Daily Beast.
The Washington-based center sponsors the Campaign for Free Expression, which promotes the rights of religious and nonreligious individuals around the world.
Open Doors backed Kerry's designation, telling the Daily Beast that the persecution in the Middle East and Africa, "increasingly takes the form of ethnic cleansing."
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