The surge of the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” across Syria and Iraq, causing hundreds of thousands of religious and ethnic minorities to flee, is the top religion news story of 2014, according to the Religion Newswriters Assocation. The IS horror stripped northern Iraq nearly completely clear of its Christian population, which had occupied the region since the time of Christ.

The top religion news stories of the year were selected by RNA members (including World Watch Monitor) in the organization’s annual poll. The complete list is here.