Puertas Abiertas points out that in these 50 countries alone, some 317 million Christians suffer very high or extreme levels of persecution Photo: Outono.net

The 50 Countries Where Christians Are Most Persecuted at Present: Communism and Islamism Head the Persecutions

Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world. In many countries Christians suffer all sorts of vexations because of their faith. Some 317 million Christians suffer persecution in those 50 countries.

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(ZENIT News – Contando Estrelas / Vigo, 17.01.2024).- The Christian NGO Puertas Abiertas has been registering, year after year, the persecution of Christians in the world, classifying 50 countries where the situation is very serious. On Wednesday, January 17, Puertas Abiertas published its 2024 classification, including a map highlighting in orange the countries with very high levels of persecution and, in red, the countries with extreme levels of this scourge. Alarming is the fact that for some years now, the list of high-level persecutions has been growing.

 Puertas Abiertas points out that in these 50 countries alone, some 317 million Christians suffer very high or extreme levels of persecution. The NGO also points out that one out of every seven Christians suffers persecution in the world, a proportion that rises  to one out of every five Christians in Africa and two out of every five in Asia. In 2023, 4,998 Christians were killed for their faith; 4,125 were arrested and 14,766 Christian churches and properties were attacked for religious motives. Moreover, 295,120 Christians have had to flee from their places of residence. “In 2023, the number of believers obliged to flee from their homes more than doubled. In the most dangerous countries for believers in Sub-Saharan Africa, some 3% of all Christians are displaced.”

Seven Communist Dictatorships on a List Headed by North Korea

Yet another year, the list of persecutions is headed by the Communist dictatorship of North Korea, an anti-democratic and extremely oppressive regime, in which Christians have suffered all sort of atrocities for decades. Puertas Abiertas highlights that it is “the most dangerous place for Christians in the world. To be discovered as a follower of Jesus is, effectively, a death sentence. In 2023, the country reinforced its border with China, making it more difficult now for Christians to flee and more difficult for them to receive support. “

Six other Communist dictatorships appear on the list: Eritrea (4th place), the Peoples’ Republic of China (19th ), Laos (21st) Cuba (22nd ), Nicaragua (30th) and Vietnam (35th). In regard to Communist China, Puertas Abiertas states: “At least 10,000 churches closed in China in 2023. The majority were churches in homes, but official churches are also under pressure. The new regulations mean that churches must display posters saying: “Love the Communist Party, Love the Country, Love Religion.” Digital vigilance is growing. And Christians of one province must register on an app controlled by the State before attending religious services.”

In 33 Countries Islamic Oppression Is the Cause of Persecution

Moreover, as in previous years, Islamism is the main cause of the persecution of Christians on the 2024 list, with 33 countries where Islamic oppression is the cause: Somalia (2), Libya (3), Yemen (5), Nigeria (6), Pakistan (7), Sudan (8), Iran (9), Afghanistan (10), Saudi Arabia (13), Mali (14), Uzbekistan (25), Niger (27), the Central African Republic (28), Turkmenistan (29), Oman (31), Tunisia (33), Egypt (38), Mozambique (39), Qatar (40), the Democratic Republic of Congo (41), Indonesia (42), Cameroon (43), Brunei (44), Comoros (45), Jordan (48), Malaysia (49) and Turkey (50). The list also includes an additional four Islamic countries where Christians suffer persecution, such as Syria (12), Bangladesh (26), Tajikistan (46), and Kazakhstan (47), although in this case the NGO attributes it to a “dictatorial paranoia” of their respective regimes.

Hindu, Buddhist and Orthodox Nationalism

Puertas Abietas attributes persecution, in three cases, to religious nationalism: India (11, a mainly Hindu country), Myanmar (17) and Bhutan (36), the last two are mainly Buddhist. In Ethiopia (32), Puertas Abiertas attributes the persecution to a “Christian denominational protectionism,” given the hostile attitude of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church to the rest of the Christian Confessions.

The Cases of Colombia and Mexico

Finally, Puertas Abiertas points out that in Colombia (34) and Mexico (37), two mainly Christian countries, “corruption and organized crime” is the cause of persecution. In the case of Colombia, the NGO adds, which is governed by Communist Gustavo Petro: “detected is a growing intolerance of Christian opinions in the public sphere, especially on questions related to life, the family, marriage and religious liberty. On occasions, Christians can be accused of incitement to hatred and intolerance, which  foments self-censure.”

In the case of Mexico, governed by Communist Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Puertas Abiertas points out  that “it’s a strictly secular State, and hostility to the faith and Christian values has increased in general, and public expressions of Christianity are faced with increasingly stronger legal scrutiny.”

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