The Christian NGO Open Doors once again reports of increasing persecution of Christians worldwide. It certifies that some 245 million Christians worldwide suffer some form of persecution. In other words, one in nine Christians are persecuted because of their faith. Out of the 150 countries examined, Open Doors found 73 with a high, very high or extreme level of persecution. Five years ago there was only talk of extreme persecution in North Korea, now 10 more countries added to the list.
Once again Kim Jong-un’s country is first on the list. It is not known how many Christians are imprisoned in their re-education camps. Just possessing a Bible can mean death or jail, not only for those who possess it, but even for three generations of the same family.
In Afghanistan, abandoning Islam is seen as a betrayal and can be punished even with death. Christians are obliged to practice their faith in secret. Even if a person is suspected of being in contact with someone of another religion, he or she can also be condemned to death.
Somalia is the third country in this of intolerant countries. The Church has practically disappeared in a country where chaos has reigned for decades. Socially, being Somali is identified with being Muslim, so the few Christians who remain in the country have to practice their faith in secret. The Jihadist militia Al Shabaab kills anyone suspected of abandoning Islam.
In a war-torn Libya, many converts from Islam are persecuted by their own family. It is impossible to identify as a Christian. Thousands of sub-Saharans who cross the country to reach Europe fall victim to human trafficking networks. If they are Christians, their fate can become even more terrible, as they are victims of horrendous torture and rape.
The last of the five countries where Christians are treated the worst is Pakistan. There the anti-blasphemy law is a danger to Christians who may be condemned to death. One example is Asia Bibi, who was released after eight years of inhuman imprisonment. Christians are also regarded as second-class citizens and therefore despised.
In countries such as Iraq, the situation has improved slightly for Christians after the disappearance of the Islamic State. Last year they were number 10 in the ranking and this year are number 13. However, there is concern about of other countries, such as Morocco returning to the list, since Open Doors certifies that the situation for Christians has worsened.