Vice President Mike Pence recently drew attention to the persecution of Christians around the world, telling a summit in Washington, D.C., that “no people of faith today face greater hostility or hatred than the followers of Christ.” In the same speech, Pence singled out “the suffering of Christians in the Middle East,” promising that the U.S. would act to protect Christians in that part of the world.
Some of the vice president’s statements on Christian persecution comport with data from a recent Pew Research Center report on global religious restrictions in 2015. Christians have been harassed in more countries than any other religious group and have suffered harassment in many of the heavily Muslim countries of the Middle East and North Africa. But the report also shows that this widespread harassment is due in part to the huge size and broad geographic disbursement of Christians around the world, and that the Middle East is just one of a number of regions where Christians have faced harassment.
(The Center’s recent report tracks harassment against religious groups around the world, but it does not attempt to estimate the number of victims in each country. As a result, it does not speak to the intensity of harassment in each country.)