Persecution at a glance – as Open Doors USA presents it
For over 60 years, Open Doors (OD) has worked in the world’s most oppressive countries, empowering Christians who are persecuted for their beliefs. Open Doors equips persecuted Christians in more than 60 countries through programs like Bible & Gospel Development, Women & Children Advancement and Christian Community Restoration.
Here is their summary of Christian persecution today.
Today, just like in the book of Acts, Christians are persecuted all over the world for following Jesus. Christians remain one of the most persecuted religious groups in the world.
While Christian persecution takes many forms, it is defined as any hostility experienced as a result of identification with Christ.
Christians throughout the world continue to risk imprisonment, loss of home and assets, torture, beheadings, rape and even death as a result of their faith.
Trends show that countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East are intensifying persecution against Christians, and perhaps the most vulnerable are Christian women, who often face double persecution for faith and gender.
Every day OD receive new reports of Christians who face threats, unjust imprisonment, harassment, beatings and even loss of family because of their faith in Jesus.
- 255 Christians are killed
- 104 are abducted
- 180 Christian women are raped, sexually harassed or forced into marriage
- 66 churches are attacked
- 160 Christians are detained without trial and imprisoned
Every year, OD releases the World Watch List—a global indicator of countries where human and religious rights are being violated, and those countries most vulnerable to societal unrest and destabilization. This is the 26thyear of the Open Doors World Watch List, and it remains the only annual in-depth survey to rank the 50 most difficult countries in which to be a Christian.
According to the research:
215 million Christians experience high levels of persecution in the countries on the World Watch List. This represents 1 in 12 Christians worldwide.
- North Koreais ranked #1 for the 17th consecutive year as the most dangerous country for Christians.
- During the World Watch List 2018 reporting period: 3,066 Christians were killed; 1,252 were abducted; 1,020 were raped or sexually harassed; and 793 churches were attacked.
- Islamic Oppression fuels persecution in 8 of the top 10 countries.
MAJOR TRENDS IN CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION
The Spread of Radical Islam
Islamic oppression is one of the most widely recognized sources of persecution for Christians in the world today—and it continues to spread—aiming to bring many parts of the world under Sharia law. The movement, which often results in Islamic militancy and persecution of Christians, is expanding in Asia (Philippines, Bangladesh, Indonesia) and Africa (Egypt, Nigeria, Somalia).
The Rise of Religious Nationalism
In an effort to preserve power, insecure governments are using the country’s majority religion to marginalize Christians and other religious minorities. This phenomenon has been observed in some parts of Asia with Hindu nationalism (India, Nepal) and Buddhist nationalism (Myanmar, Sri Lanka) both gaining ground.
Intense Persecution in Central Asia
Persecution in Central Asia is on the rise in countries like Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan—and Azerbaijan is new to the list at #45. There is a grassroots revival of Islam in Central Asia, and that means more pressure from the nationalist pro-Islamic governments and within society—causing increased persecution levels on two fronts.
Source: Open Doors USA
Picture: The Japanese Times