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New Report: Global Christian Persecution is Higher than Ever

New Report: Global Christian Persecution is Higher than Ever

This week, religious liberty organization Open Doors revealed that the persecution of Christians around the world has continued to worsen and expand over the last three decades.

Open Doors began compiling its World Watch List of the 50 countries where Christians face the most persecution for their faith back in 1990. Since then, the number of Christians facing persecution has risen, as well as the severity. 

Wybo Nicolai, a former Open Doors global field director and creator of the World Watch List, said that since 2010, the number of countries on the World Watch List withhigh levels of persecution has nearly doubled. The intensity of that persecution has also remained high, with 360 million Christians around the world reporting at least high levels of discrimination and persecution.

“What we noticed is not just an increase of persecution, but also an increase in the size and the strength of the body of Christ,” Nicolai said. “Yes, a lot of atrocities, a lot of drama; at the same time, a lot of church growth, as well.”

The list of 10 countries where Open Doors reports Christians currently face the most persecution are North Korea, Somalia, Yemen, Eritrea, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan and Sudan.

A map of the 2023 World Watch List compiled by Open Doors.

North Korea returned to the top spot after scoring its highest level of persecution ever under its antireactionary thought law. Last year, Afghanistan toppled North Korea for the first and only time since 2002. Now, Afghanistan is back at No. 9 on the list, as the Taliban has shifted its focus to searching out those with links to the countrys former government.

Sudan, at No. 13 last year, is the newest addition to the Top 10. Open Doors noted analarming increase in violence against Christians by Islamic extremists in subSaharan Africa, with Nigeria experiencing the highest number of religiously motivated killings in the world.

It’s worth noting that the United States is not included on the list. Although the nation has become more secular over the past 30 years and many U.S. Christians have expressed concern about discrimination, Nicolai noted that theres avast difference between the experiences of Christians in the U.S. and the countries on the World Watch List.

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