Inside the Kremlin, Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to rebuild two monasteries and a church torn down by Stalin about 85 years ago. But as Russia rebuilds churches with one hand, with the other it’s been knocking them down.
While a campaign in China to de-Christianize city skylines has drawn the most international attention this summer, Pew Research Center recently calculated the world’s 34 countries with the most government destruction of religious property (as of 2012). Three countries topped the list, with 100 or more incidents: China, Russia, and Tajikistan.
Overall, government damage to religious property occurs most often in the Middle East and North Africa, while in the Asia-Pacific region, 16 of 60 countries had government infringement on their property, according to Pew.
Some countries are systematic, others sporadic. Tajikistan, for example, topped the 2012 list because its government shut down more than 100 mosques due to improper documentation.
Open Doors has also calculated the destruction of Christian property in light of religious violence around the world. Between the months of November 2012 and March 2014, the persecution watchdog found that 3,641 churches and Christian properties were destroyed.