Over 900,000 Christians have been martyred in the last 10 years, a Christian research firm affiliated with Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachusetts estimates.
Gordon-Conwell's Center for the Study of Global Christianity recently released its annual report on the persecution of Christians, which found that as many as 90,000 Christians died for their faith in the last year.
Although the study was released this month, the finding that 90,000 Christians — or one Christian every six minutes — were killed in 2016 was leaked by a prominent Italian sociologist named Massimo Introvigne during an interview with Vatican Radio in December and the report received much media attention before it was even released.
Even though 90,000 Christian martyrs might seem like a lot in one year, the think tank maintains that 90,000 Christians have died each year on average from 2005 to 2015.
"In the last week, several news organizations reported on the persecution of Christians around the world and cited our figure of 90,000 Christian martyrs in 2016," the organization said in an email to supporters. "The Center for the Study of Global Christianity has done extensive research on Christian martyrdom, both historical and contemporary. We estimate that between 2005 and 2015 there were 900,000 Christian martyrs worldwide — an average of 90,000 per year."
It should be noted that 90,000 Christian martyrs per year is a very liberal estimate. In fact, the organization notes that only 30 percent of the 90,000 Christians were killed because of terrorism. Seventy-percent of the 90,000 Christians were actually killed in tribal conflicts in Africa, which raises the question of whether or not 70 percent of 90,000 Christians were actually killed over their faith or just victims of violent conflicts.