About us

World Watch Monitor reports the story of Christians around the world under pressure for their faith.

Freedom of belief, guaranteed by the UN Declaration of Human Rights, plays a critical part in the unfolding, complex story of the 21st Century. We exist to tell this part of the story with accuracy and authority. We respect and uphold everyone’s right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; Our focus is on the global Christian Church.   

World Watch Monitor is particularly concerned with reporting on the underlying causes of persecution. We aim to connect the dots to reveal the forces behind acts of violence and injustice.

We strive to be the most trusted and consulted source of news about Christians who suffer for their faith. World Watch Monitor editors commission journalists around the world to report on persecution, from breaking news to in-depth analysis. We seek authentic voices on the ground, always with the aim to place such incidents within a broader narrative to explain context.  We are committed to classic journalistic principles and practices: We pursue truth; employ the discipline of verification; maintain independence; keep the news in perspective; and publish journalism that aims to be transparent.

However, wherever the freedom to believe is denied, there is fear, secrecy and often danger. So, we will name our sources when we can, and will protect them with anonymity when we must. Our reporters, whose work can anger those who oppress minority Christians, often work in places where police protection cannot always be expected, where orthodoxy can be enforced at the end of a gun, and where the rule of law doesn’t always run as it should. For those reasons, in most cases we do not publish the name of a story’s author. But neither do we make up fake reporter names.

We know the story of the Christian Church under pressure is larger than World Watch Monitor’s engagement with it, so we link to credible news and information about persecution that is published by others. Our goal is to be a valuable guide to the full breadth of this important story.

The WWM Team

Julia Bicknell has had over 30 years’ experience in the BBC, mainly BBC World Service and BBC World. She was a correspondent from Pakistan, has lived in Vietnam, and has spent extended time in Africa.





Jeff Thomas has spent 26 years in daily newspapers in the U.S., as a reporter, editor and executive editor.





Steve Dew-Jones joined the WWM Team as a journalist in 2013. He has written two books – about long overland journeys in Asia and the Americas, respectively – and has worked for a range of newspapers, magazines and websites in London.





Lauren Gunias has worked and trained as a journalist in both the United States and United Kingdom. Prior to joining WWM, she worked for the BBC, CNN International and WOUB News.




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Persecution is a story as old and wide as the Church, well beyond the ability of any single news service to report it completely. That's why World Watch Monitor frequently links to information sources around the Web.

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Catching Our Eye

Bangladeshi pastor escapes murder attempt

A Bangladeshi Baptist pastor escaped an attempt on his life today (5 Oct.) in what seemed to have been a pre-meditated attack at his home by three youths.

Luke Sarkar, 50, of the Faith Bible Church of God, told bdnews24 that two weeks ago two youths had phoned him to say they were interested in hearing his sermons. Earlier today three youths arrived by motorcycle at his home in Pabna, a town in the north-western part of the country, unannounced, and carried out the attack. “The three sat [in] the drawing room for a while. Then they suddenly attacked me and tried to slit my throat with a knife.” 

Bdnews24 also said that “some radical militant group might have carried out this attack”.

The attack comes a week after an Italian aid worker was shot and killed in the capital, Dhaka, when three men rode by him on a motorcycle. On Friday 2 October, a Japanese businessman, Kunio Hoshi, 66, was shot dead in Rangpur, over 200 miles north of Dhaka, again by men on a motorcycle. A group claiming to be Islamic State claimed both deaths, and warned of continuing “security operations” against nationals of crusader coalition countries'. Locals showed photos of Mr Hoshi in the mosque, saying he'd converted to Islam three months ago.

There has been a rise in extremist Islamist violence this year in Bangladesh; four secular bloggers have been hacked to death, including a US citizen of Bangladeshi origin. 

Christians form a tiny minority of the population; about 90 per cent of Bangladeshis are Muslim, with about nine per cent Hindu. Bangladesh officially has freedom of religion, but this has been gradually eroding.

Source: Risingbd

Bangladesh aid worker’s death claimed by ‘IS’

An Italian working with a church-linked Dutch NGO in Dhaka has been murdered in an attack later claimed by a group which said it was Islamic State.

The fatal shooting of Caesar Tavella, 50, occurred while he was jogging after work on 28 Sep in Gulshan, the diplomatic quarter of the Bangladeshi capital. According to the Bangladeshi Home Minister, “It appears to be a planned murder”.

Local eyewitnesses told police that the killers had been riding on a single motorcycle following Tavella before opening fire three times.

Tavella was a veterinary surgeon working as a project manager on food security issues for ICCO (Inter Church Coordination Committee) Cooperation, a development aid organization of Protestant churches based in the Netherlands.

The online claim of responsibility by an IS-affiliated group is being investigated by local officials and the Italian foreign ministry. The alleged IS statement warned “citizens of the crusader coalition would not be safe in Muslim nations”. If substantiated, this would be the first attack by Islamic State in Bangladesh.

“There is general apprehension with regards to the presence of the IS in Bangladesh,” Catholic Auxiliary Bishop Theotonius Gomes of Dhaka told Fides News Agency. Governments of the US, Britain, Canada and Australia issued diplomatic warnings to their citizens after the attack.

Four bloggers with secularist views have been murdered in 2015 by suspected Islamist militants in Bangladesh, a 90% Muslim nation ruled by a secular constitution.

Saeed Abedini completes third year in prison

Saeed Abedini has served three years of an eight-year jail sentence for alleged anti-state activities.

The American-Iranian pastor, who lived in the US with his wife, Naghmeh, and their two children, was detained in October 2012 during a visit to see his family.

After a recent visit to see him at Rajaei-Shahr Prison in Karaj, a family member said he fears new charges may be brought against him. Since his imprisonment, the government has repeatedly threatened that his sentence could be extended.

Abedini has consistently asserted that he poses no threat to the government and was in Iran to help with the building of a government-approved orphanage. Abedini says that, having been warned about his involvement with “house churches” in 2009, he had decided to focus on humanitarian activities during subsequent visits.

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