In some Mexican states people who claim to be Christians are behind some of the worst persecution of believers.
Catholics have critically injured a Baptist woman in an indigenous village in Hidalgo State because of her faith.
Persecution watchdog Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) says the local Catholic majority has been trying for years to drive out minority Protestant communities or force them to engage in Catholic activities.
Around 160 of the village’s 450 people are Baptists.
Local officials have banned them from accessing or using their land for cultivating crops.
The woman was attacked on her own acreage after being lured there under false pretences.
The Baptist pastor was assaulted and detained when he asked police to stop the attack.
Village leaders demanded that he hand over the deeds to ten plots of land belonging to members of his church.
When he refused, they threatened to take the documents by force and confiscate the properties.
CSW joint head of advocacy Anna-Lee Stangl told the Baptist Press that the persecution is the result of a dual legal system in Mexico that allows local indigenous communities to govern based on customs that vary by village.
“Some of these villages interpret that as, they can mandate what everyone in their village believes and practices. The law actually says that it has to be operated in accordance with the constitution and human rights protections. But in practice, the government very rarely intervenes to make sure that that’s done,” she explained.
CSW has called on the state governor to bring the attackers to justice, but concedes the appeal is likely to fall on deaf ears.
No arrests have been made despite the suspected assailants being named in official complaints.