Each year, the Christian persecution watchdog group, Open Doors USA, releases its annual “World Watch List.” The list identifies the top 50 most dangerous countries for Christians today. The lists are so alarming that I wrote about the 2018 and 2019 lists in my first two books. Now, I want to share what 2020’s list has revealed about the perils that our brothers and sisters are facing worldwide.
For the 19th year in a row, NORTH KOREA holds the number one spot on the list. Also continuing a trend, 9 out of the top 10 countries were Islamic – Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, Pakistan, Eritrea, Sudan, Yemen, Iran and India.
The 2020 ODUSA report revealed that at least 8 Christians were murdered for their faith EVERY DAY last year. Also, about 200 churches and 100 Christian homes were attacked, burned, or destroyed, across the globe EVERY WEEK in 2019.
Open Doors says that 1 in 8 Christians worldwide live in a country where they endure “high levels” of persecution for their faith in Christ. Last year, 260-million Christians suffered “extreme levels” of persecution, which is up from 245-million in 2018.
One nation that many believe should have been in the Top 10 countries of the WWL, China, dramatically rose closer to the top of the list. The reason why the anti-Christian communist country didn’t crack the top ten is because it was ranked as low as #43 two years ago, and #27 last year.
While it is has been rapidly climbing higher up the list each and every year, it is still only ranked #23 in 2020. Given all that I have written about China’s government-persecution of believers over the past few years, I personally think that it should have been ranked much higher on the list.
As for the Top 10, I want to quickly walk you through what Christians are contending with in those countries…
#1 – NORTH KOREA
In my first book, The Signs of Our Times, I wrote about the persecution that believers face under the communist regime –
Public worship has been forbidden there. The Christian population, of around 300,000, are forced to hide their beliefs and fellowship. At least 50,000 Christians are wasting away in prison or labor camps for their Faith. Open Doors USA says that “it is illegal to be a Christian in North Korea, and Christians are often sent to labor camps or are killed if they are discovered.”
I would be arrested for carrying a Holy Bible on the streets of North Korea, and for simply saying “God bless you” or “Merry Christmas.” Believers, who have been fortunate enough to escape the hell of living under Kim Jong Un’s dictatorial regime, give the most horrific accounts of forced starvation – forced abortion – crucifixion of believers over fires – and Christians being crushed under steamrollers.
#2 – AFGHANISTAN
The Islamic nation does not allow any religious faith other than Islam to exist. It is illegal to convert to Christianity, Judaism, or any other religion in Afghanistan. Those who are discovered to be Christians are either locked up, sent to insane asylums, or are beaten and even murdered – mostly by members of their own family. The Taliban terror group also targets anyone that they suspect to be of the Christian faith.
#3 – SOMALIA
It is said that 99% of this African nation’s citizens are Muslims. Anyone belonging to another faith, other than Islam, is said to be wiped out quickly. The Somali terror group, Al-Shabab, has vowed to eradicate Christians from the country.
#4 – LIBYA
Since the fall of Libya’s former dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, the country fell into the hands of various Islamic terror groups. If discovered by these groups, the Christians are killed. Migrant Christians, who pass through Libya to reach Europe, are arrested and thrown into detention centers or labor camps. The women are most always forced into prostitution.
#5 – PAKISTAN
Out of over 200-million citizens, less than a fraction of 1% are Christians. The rest of the population is predominantly Islamic. An estimated 700 Christian girls and women are abducted each year. They are then raped, and forced into Islamic marriages. If they refuse to convert to the Muslim faith, then they are murdered.
#6 – ERITREA
Under a brutal authoritarian Islamic regime, Christians who are not members of state-approved churches are considered a “threat to the state.” Hundreds, if not thousands, are wasting away in prisons – simply for believing in Jesus Christ. Evangelical Christians are said to face the harshest persecution when discovered by the government, as they make up only about 2% of the population.
#7 – SUDAN
In recent years, the Islamist government has arrested many Christian leaders, and numerous churches have been demolished. Muslim terrorists have attacked, displaced, and murdered thousands of Christians in the country.
#8 – YEMEN
Islamic terrorists have used the nation’s civil war to persecute Christians in the country. If a Christian is discovered, they are abducted and/or murdered. Tribal laws in Yemen prohibit Muslims from leaving Islam. So, if a Muslim converts to Christianity, then they will face the death penalty if found out.
#9 – IRAN
Of course, Iran would have to be in the Top Ten most dangerous countries for a Christian to live. Their leaders are constantly threatening to blow Israel off the map, and chant “Death to Israel” and “Death to America” on live television. They label Judeo-Christian America as “the great Satan,” and Israel as “the little Satan.”
Iranian society is governed by Islamic Law, meaning that Christians have absolutely no rights. Church services are forbidden in the national language, and converts face constant threat of arrest and persecution from the government.
#10 – INDIA
India is another nation that has been rapidly rising up the World Watch List year after year. This is extremely alarming, because it is the world’s second most populous country – boasting nearly 1.4-billion citizens. The Christians there are facing persecution from both the government and the Hindu society.
Many states in India have recently adopted “anti-conversion” laws, which are used to shut down church services or to harass and even arrest Christians. Hindu and Buddhist extremists have ramped up violent attacks against Christians in recent years, and Hindu tribes cut off access to water supply for believers in rural india. Converts to Christianity from Hinduism are often killed.
The remainder of the 2020 World Watch List –
13. Saudi Arabia
25. Central African Republic
28. Burkina Faso
30. Sri Lanka
47. United Arab Emirates
You can read much more about global persecution, as well as Christian persecution here in the United States, in my first two books. Also, in my new book, you can read about what kind of persecution awaits believers under the Antichrist during the 7-year Tribulation. Get any or all of the books by clicking on the image below.
Don’t forget to pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world!
“Jesus said, Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.” – MATTHEW 24:9