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Home  >  News  >  Persecution of Christians Worsening Worldwide


Persecution of Christians Worsening Worldwide

Wednesday January 13 2016


Over 7000 Christians were killed because of their faith last year, the charity Open Doors said today.

Publishing its annual list of the 50 countries with the worst persecution record against Christians, Open Doors warned that persecution levels across the globe were rising. The charity's CEO, Lisa Pearce, said: “This year, a country had to score 50 per cent more points than in 2013 to even make it onto the list. This is a cause of great concern.”

According to the list, North Korea remains the worst place to be a Christian, followed by Iraq, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan and Somalia. The worst increases in persecution in the past year were in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan and Eritrea.

Open Doors also warn that India (17th on the list) has seen persecution levels rise rapidly following Hindu national electoral successes.

Lisa Pearce added: "The persecution of Christians is getting worse, in every region in which we work - and it's getting worse fast.  The trend is stark, as are the consequences for real people - we should not expect that to change unless we are part of changing the situation. 

“As a key voice within the international community and a generous provider of aid to a number of the countries on the 2016 World Watch List, I urge our government to do everything possible within their spheres of influence to affect what happens next.  We will not get these days back."

The Open Doors World Watch List is compiled annually by Open Doors World Watch Unit. Its methodology is designed to track how the exercise of the Christian faith gets squeezed in five areas - private life, family life, community life, national life and church life, as well as covering violence such as rapes, killings and church burnings.

Open Doors records show that worldwide there were well over 7,000 Christians killed for faith-related reasons in the reporting period for the 2016 list. That is a rise of almost 3,000 in comparison to conservative figures for the previous year. This is excluding North Korea, Syria and Iraq, where accurate records do not exist. Statistics also show that around 2,300 churches were attacked or damaged, which is over double the number for last year.

The Church of Scotland has frequently expressed concern for persecuted Christians in recent year. The most recent General Assembly passed a motion ‘Continu(ing) to pray for and support minority communities, especially Christians, as they face extremism, and other challenges to personal, family and community wellbeing, on a daily basis; and instruct(ing) the (World Mission) Council to express at every opportunity loving and prayerful solidarity with churches whose members have been martyred.’

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