Open Doors, a Christian organization, says that Christians around the world are going through the worst period of persecution for the sake of faith. Almost 30 years ago, Open Doors began documenting the persecution of Christians worldwide. According to the report, Christians are being persecuted mainly because of their faith in about fifty countries.
The top ten countries are North Korea, Somalia, Yemen, Eritrea, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan and Sudan. Sudan, which was ranked 13th last year, made it to the list of top ten countries this time. An increase in arrests of Christians led North Korea to the top spot. The surge in arrests of Christians is due to cases under the country’s “reactionary thinking” law. The “reactionary thinking ” law makes listening to foreign radio or distributing other media illegal. The use of the Bible is also banned in the country.
Christian persecution has almost doubled globally since the 1990s. Says Open Doors ex-global field Dia Vaibo Nicolai. In 2022, at least 360 million Christians experienced “high levels of persecution and discrimination,” according to the Open Doors report. This is 20 million more than in 2021. The number of Christians killed for their faith rose from 4,761 in 2021 to 5,898 in 2022, according to the report.
Christians are going through difficult situations in the countries of Nigeria and Iraq. The Boko Haram Islamic terrorist group and Fulani Islamic extremists are working together to attack Christians across northern Nigeria. Almost all Christians in northeastern Nigeria have lost family members or friends to attacks by Boko Haram or Fulani Islamic extremists. Entire congregations have been relocated here.Many pastors and other clergy are forced to leave the area. Reports indicate that in 2022 Fulani militants alone killed over 6,000 Christians and destroyed 17 villages. The Christian population of Iraq is suffering terribly at the hands of the Islamists. The Christian population has dwindled from 1.2 million to less than 300,000 as the country has suffered more than two decades of continuous war and instability.
The situation for Christians in Somalia, which is second on the list, is even worse. Christians from a Muslim background are considered high-value targets there and can be killed on the spot if discovered. Christians face intense violence here, says Open Doors, which has worsened in recent years.Islamic extremists have stepped up their hunt for Christians. If a woman is suspected of being a Christian, she may be placed under strict house arrest, raped, kidnapped, forcibly married by a radical sheikh, or killed. If she is already married, her husband is likely to divorce her and take the children away.
Christian men and boys may face verbal abuse, physical assault, kidnapping, imprisonment, torture, or death. It is a situation where converts cannot trust even their own family members.The report says that even in Afghanistan, with the Taliban in power, Christians are fleeing the country or living in hiding. In Pakistan, however, due to blasphemy laws, Christians are at constant risk of being falsely accused of blaspheming Islam, the Koran or Muhammad. Christians have been imprisoned for years under the country’s blasphemy laws, and many have been killed or forced to leave the country permanently after being released from prison. Many incidents of girls being abducted and converted have been reported here.