The Top 10 Countries Where Christian Persecution is Most Severe

Veronica Neffinger | Editor, | Wednesday, January 18, 2017
The Top 10 Countries Where Christian Persecution is Most Severe
Here are the top 10 countries around the world where Christians face the worst persecution. This list is drawn from Open Doors World Watch List for 2017.
  • 10. Eritrea

    The country of Eritrea, located in eastern Africa on the Red Sea, is a small country and not often talked about, but Christians living here face severe persecution. Religious freedom is a foreign concept and many Eritrean Christians have fled the country. 

  • 9. Yemen

    Yemen is located in the Middle East, below Saudi Arabia. It is predominately Muslim, with Christians making up less than one percent of the population. Yemen is also the poorest country in the Middle East. 

  • 8. Iran

    Islam is the official religion in the country of Iran where Christianity is considered a Western influence and a threat to Islam. Christian converts from Islam face especially severe persecution in Iran.

  • 7. Iraq

    Iran's neighbor, Iraq's Christians face similar threats from Islam. There has been a Christian presence in Iraq since ancient times, but in modern times the country has been dominated by Islamic extremism. Hundreds of thousands of Christians fled Iraq as refugees, but as the Islamic State's terroritory shrinks, some are beginning to return

  • 6. Syria

    Syria's citizens have been caught in a civil war that has raged on for nearly six years. While government factions and rebels wage war, many of Syria's Christians paid the price. Most Christians in the country belong to Catholic or Orthodox churches.

  • 5. Sudan

    Open Doors notes that in Sudan, Christian persecution is "systematic and reminiscent of ethnic cleansing." Christians face frequent arrests and attacks by radical Muslims in the country.

  • 4. Pakistan

    Pakistani Christians are often persecuted under the country's strict blasphemy laws which prescribe harsh punishments for anyone who disrespects Islam. Christian converts from Islam are often ostracized and attacked. 

  • 3. Afghanistan

    In Afghanistan, Christian converts also face harsh persecution. Families, friends, and communities often unite exert pressure on the converts. Open Doors reports that some Christian converts are even forced to go to mental hospitals due to the belief that no one in their right mind would convert to Christianity.

  • 2. Somalia

    Somalia, which is on Africa's eastern tip, below Eritrea, is predominantly Muslim. According to the Pew Research Center, 99.8 percent of Somalians are Muslim. The small number of Christians in Somalia are often marginalized and persecuted. 

  • 1. North Korea

    The country where Christian persecution is most severe of anywhere in the world is North Korea. It is the only country in the top 10 that is not Muslim. Instead, North Korea's totalitariam regime makes practicing Christian faith very risky. It is estimated that thousands of Christians are enslaved in North Korea's labor camps. Reports have surfaced of the brutal torture some Christians face, such as being crucified or burned.


    Please use this list as a reminder that Christians around the world, but particularly in these countries, are in desperate need of prayer.

    Photos courtesy of:

    Publication date: January 18, 2017

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