About 215 million Christians are being persecuted due to their faith, according to a report released by the Open Doors organization Wednesday. This represents 1 in 12 Christians worldwide.
The most dangerous place to be a practicing Christian is in North Korea. There is also a high level of persecution against Christians in the Palestinian Territories, the World Watch List report showed.
Released by the Open Doors organization, the list is an annual report on the global persecution of Christians ranking the top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted due to their faith. Released at the beginning of each year, the list uses data from Open Doors field workers and external experts to quantify and analyze persecution worldwide.
The list’s number one cause of Christian persecution is the spread of radical Islam. Out of the top 10 countries with the highest rate of Christian persecution, Islamic oppression fuels that persecution in eight of them: Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, Pakistan, Libya, Iraq, Yemen and Iran.
This is the second year in a row that Islamic oppression has been the main trend in causing persecution of Christians. According to Open Doors, every day, six women are raped, sexually harassed or are forced into marriage to a Muslim under threat of death due to their Christian faith.
“The World Watch List matters. It matters because it is the most trusted measurement of religious persecution in the world today,” CEO David Curry said. “But even more important, the list matters because it’s a spiritual EKG showing the strength and vulnerability of the global Church.”
Countries are ranked by the severity of persecution of Christians, calculated by analyzing the level of violent persecution plus the pressure experienced in five spheres of life: church life, national life, community life, family life and private life.