'They Beat My Husband As We Pleaded For Them To Stop': New Film Highlights Persecution Of Christians Around The World

Christian persecution around the world is the focus of a new documentary short film called Under Caesar's Sword.

A protester at a rally attended by hundreds of Christians against attacks on churches nationwide, in Mumbai, India on February 9, 2015.Reuters

The 26-minute film – made in collaboration with Aid to the Church in Need – shows communities in countries such as Turkey and India where Christians suffer threats to religious freedom.

The documentary film was directed by Jason Cohen Productions and produced by the Under Caesar's Sword initiative, a partnership of the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture and Georgetown University's Religious Freedom Project, the Catholic News Agency (CNA) reported.

Daniel Philpott, a political science professor at the University of Notre Dame and the movie's co-director said: "What is remarkable about persecuted Christians is their resilience. They are not just victims. Understanding this is the key to being in solidarity with them."

The dissolution of Christian culture in the Middle East is examined in the film, as is human rights activism among Christians in India. In the Kandhamal riots of late 2007 and early 2008, rioters in the eastern India state of Odisha killed 45 people and destroyed more than 80 churches. Christians were targeted there for forced conversion to Hinduism.

In the documentary, the widow of a man who refused to convert recounted how he was tortured and killed in front of her and their two children.

"They beat my husband badly as we pleaded with them to stop," she said. "They dragged him for a kilometre with a cycle chain around his neck."

Timothy Shah, the associate director of Georgetown University's Religious Freedom Project, reflected on how Christians react peacefully to persecution.

"Christians have spontaneously responded to their own suffering by enlarging their concern and compassion and work for justice to include others as well," he told CNA.

"It's important because that's what their faith calls them to, but it's important too in that I think many Christians realise the only world in which they are going to be more secure is a world in which everyone is more secure."

According to Open Doors USA, more than 7,100 Christians were killed for their faith in 2015 and an estimated 100 million Christians endure some form of persecution each year. A report from the US Commission on International Religious Freedom this year warned that religious freedom had come under "serious and sustained assault" across the world.

Under Caesar's Sword and an accompanying discussion guide are available for free online.

The film, its 'teaser' and its trailer can be seen here