Every day around the world, 13 Christians are killed for their faith; 12 are illegally arrested or imprisoned; 5 are abducted; and 12 churches or other Christian buildings are attacked.
These are among some of the disturbing findings of the recently released Open Doors’ 2021 World Watch List (WWL-2021). This annual report ranks the top 50 nations in which Christians are most persecuted for their religion.
All in all, “More than 340 million Christians suffer high levels of persecution and discrimination for their faith.” About 309 million of these Christians “suffer very high or extreme levels. That’s one in 8 worldwide, 1 in 6 in Africa, 2 out of 5 in Asia, and 1 in 12 in Latin America.” (Unless otherwise indicated, all quotes in this article are from the 2021 Open Doors World Watch List.)
For the reporting period covered by WWL-2021 (October 2019 – September 2020), “4,761 Christians were killed for their faith” — a 60% increase from last year (2,983). An additional 4,277 Christians were unjustly arrested, detained, or imprisoned; 1,710 were abducted for faith-related reasons; and 4,488 churches or Christian buildings were attacked.
For the twentieth year in a row, North Korea (#1) remained the worst nation:
“Being discovered as a Christian is a death sentence in North Korea. If you aren’t killed instantly, you will be taken to a labor camp as a political criminal. These inhumane prisons have horrific conditions, and few believers make it out alive. Everyone in your family will share the same punishment. Kim Jong-un is reported to have expanded the system of prison camps, in which an estimated 50-70,000 Christians are currently imprisoned.”
The “extreme persecution” that Christians experience in 10 of the absolute 12 worst nations comes from “Islamic oppression” or is occurring in Muslim majority nations. These include: Afghanistan (#2), Somalia (#3), Libya (#4), Pakistan (#5), Yemen (#7), Iran (#8), Nigeria (#9), Iraq (#11), and Syria (#12).
Among the worst, Afghanistan and Somalia, the “persecution is only very slightly less oppressive than in North Korea.” In the rest, Christians face persecution ranging from being harassed, beat, raped, imprisoned, or slaughtered merely for being identified as Christian or attending church.
Read more: Gatestone Institute