Somewhere around the world, 13 Christians are killed every day, according to the 2021 World Watch List.
The report from Open Doors, released earlier this month, details the persecution faced by Christians around the globe.
Every day, 12 church or Christian buildings are attacked and every day, 12 Christians are arrested or imprisoned on false charges. Also, the report says some five Christians are abducted each day.
“You might think the [list] is all about oppression. … But the [list] is really all about resilience,” stated David Curry, president and CEO of Open Doors USA, introducing the report.
“The numbers of God’s people who are suffering should mean the Church is dying — that Christians are keeping quiet, losing their faith, and turning away from one another,” he said. “But that’s not what’s happening. Instead, in living color, we see the words of God recorded in the prophet Isaiah: ‘I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.’”
In total, among 50 countries, about 309 million Christians are living in places with very high or extreme levels of persecution. In 2020, that number was 260 million.
The report looks at the top 50 countries for persecution of Christians, but also pointed to another 24 nations with high levels of persecution, including Cuba, Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates.
In 2020, forty-five of the top 50 countries were named with “very high” persecution levels. This year, all 50 countries qualified for the distinction.
According to the report, the change follows more extremist attacks and spreading Chinese censorship rules. Finally, the global pandemic also impacted countries.
“COVID-19 acted as a catalyst for religious persecution through relief discrimination, forced conversion, and as justification for increasing surveillance and censorship,” the report says.
The top 10 countries for Christian persecution are: North Korea, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, Pakistan, Eritrea, Yemen, Iran, Nigeria and India.
Other findings in the report:
- Of the top 50 nations, 34 have Islam as a main religion.
- Nine in 10 Christians are killed for their faith in identified African nations.
- Abduction cases of Christians jumped up 63 percent from the year before.
- Some 4,488 churches were attacked or forced to close worldwide.
Visit here to see the full report.
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/vadimguzhva
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.