By Aaron Earls
In the past year, the number of Christians experiencing severe persecution increased by around 14 percent, according to Open Doors’ 2019 World Watch List.
Open Doors, a ministry focused on global persecution awareness and aid, releases a persecution watch list each year reporting on the top 50 countries where Christians are suffering for their faith.
In the last year, the number of Christians experiencing high levels of persecution climbed 30 million to 245 million. In total, 1 in 9 Christians experiences high levels of persecution.
During their most recent reporting period, 4,136 Christians were killed for their faith, which means an average of 11 Christians are martyred every day. In addition, 2,625 Christians were imprisoned without trial and 1,266 churches or Christian buildings were attacked.
The report lists five trends in global persecution.
1. Shocking persecution against Christian women. “In many places, they experience a ‘double persecution’—one for being a Christian and one for being a woman,” the report said.
“Even in the most restricted circumstances, gender-specific persecution is a key means of destroying the minority Christian community.”
2. Islamic oppression continues to impact millions. In seven of the top 10 nations on the World Watch List, the primary cause of persecution is Islamic oppression.
3. Two most populous nations rise on the list. “For the first time since the start of the World Watch List, India has entered the top 10,” the report said.
“Additionally, China jumped 16 spots, from 43 to 27.”
4. Spread of radical Islam across sub-Saharan Africa. ISIS-inspired groups have sprung up across the continent, including one that broke away from Nigeria’s Boko Haram “that also enslaves Christian women and girls as an integral part of their strategy.”
5. More laws aimed at controlling religion. “Places like Vietnam, Myanmar, China, and North Korea all saw stricter control of religious rights,” according to Open Doors.
These are the 10 nations with the most extreme persecution of Christians, including their score out of a worst possible mark of 100.
- North Korea, 94
- Afghanistan, 94
- Somalia, 91
- Libya, 87
- Pakistan, 87
- Sudan, 87
- Eritrea, 86
- Yemen, 86
- Iran, 85
- India, 83
Other places on the list (with their rank in parenthesis) include Iraq (13), Egypt (16), Vietnam (20), Turkey (26), Indonesia (30), Morocco (35), Mexico (39), Russia (41), Colombia (47) and the Palestinian Territories (49).
AARON EARLS (@WardrobeDoor) is online editor of Facts & Trends.