Christmas 2017 has already witnessed one terror attack against Christians. On Sunday 17 December, a pre-Christmas service at Bethel Memorial Methodist Church in Quetta, Pakistan, was targeted by two Islamic State (IS) militants, one of whom detonated a suicide vest. Nine Christians died and over 50 were injured.
Islamist groups like IS have historically planned attacks to coincide with Christmas and New Year (also seen as a Christian holiday). Already this year, Egypt’s Interior Minister has raised the security alert level to maximum, Indonesian authorities have detained 18 suspected militants in a “pre-emptive strike”, and security forces have been put on alert in Nigeria.
Recent years have seen multiple Islamist terror attacks on Christians and churches around the world, as well as attacks on Christmas celebrations in the West:
Attack on Bethel Memorial Methodist Church in Quetta, Pakistan, leaves nine dead and more than 50 injured. Islamic State claim responsibility.
December bombing at St Peter’s Church Cairo in Egypt. 25 killed.
Australian police foil planned Christmas Day attack on Melbourne cathedral.
Lorry attack on Berlin Christmas market in Germany kills 12.
Nine Christians on the Philippines island of Mindanao murdered in Christmas Eve attack by Islamist militants.
Christmas market in Nantes, France, targeted in a lorry attack injuring ten.
Al Shabaab single out and murder Christian quarry workers in Madera Country, northern Kenya. 36 killed.
Iraq: Bombs explode at a market in a Christian area of Baghdad and outside a church. More than 50 killed.
Suspected Boko Haram attack on Christmas eve services in Yobe and Borno states, Nigeria, killing 12.
Christmas Day church bombings in Madalla (near Abuja) and Jos in Nigeria carried out by Boko Haram, 35 killed in Madalla alone.
Bombs planted by Boko Haram targeting a market and Christian community on Christmas Eve. Two churches in Madaguri, northern Nigeria, attacked on the same day. More than 40 killed.