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Nigeria is deadliest country to follow Christ as North Korea remains most dangerous for Christians – Report



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A conservative estimate of 4,998 Christians was killed worldwide in 2023, Christian watchdog, Open Doors, said in its 2024 World Watch list.

Also, the US-based organisation said 14,766 churches and Christian properties were attacked while 295,120 Christians were displaced and 4,125 others detained across the world in the same year.

It also said the number of Christians beaten or threatened increased from 29,411 reported cases to 42,849 while attacks on homes rose from 4,547 to 21,431.

It, however, said in its latest findings that North Korea remains the most dangerous country among 50 nations of the world where it is difficult to follow Jesus Christ just as Nigeria is the deadliest country to be a Christian.

According to the report released on January 17, North Korea in SouthEast Asia is followed by Somalia, Libya, Eritrea, Yemen, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sudan, Iran and Afghanistan in that order.

Others are India, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Mali, Algeria, Iraq, Myanmar, Maldives, China, Burkina Faso, Laos, Cuba, Mauritania, Morocco, Uzbekistan, Bangladesh, Niger, Central African Republic and Turkmenistan.

Nicaragua, Oman, Ethiopia, Tunisia, Colombia, Vietnam, Bhutan, Mexico, Egypt, Mozambique, Qatar, Congo DRC, Indonesia, Cameroon, Brunei, Comoros, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Jordan, Malaysia and Turkey are the other countries Christians are most persecuted.

365 million Christians face high level persecution

Open Doors reported that over 365 million Christians face high levels of persecution and discrimination for their faith compared to 2022 when it was 360 million.

“This means that 1 in 7 Christians experience pressure or violence because of their faith in Jesus,” the organisation said.

It said in North Korea, which for several years has topped the 50 countries as the most dangerous place for Christians, it is a death sentence to be discovered to be a follower of Jesus.

“Being discovered as a follower of Jesus is effectively a death sentence. In 2023, the country strengthened its border with China so it’s harder for Christians to flee and harder for support to reach them,” the report said.

It further stated that in the Asian country, 80,000 Christians were kept alive with food aid through Chinese networks.

It added, “Once again, North Korea is No. 1 country on the World Watch List. The southeast Asian country ruled by the Kim dynasty continues to crush any perceived threat to its authority, including religious belief. If they aren’t executed outright, Christians discovered in North Korea risk imprisonment in North Korea’s infamous network labour camps. Pressure is constant.”

Open Doors said on the average 13 Christians are killed Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, which placed 6th in the ranking,

“Thirteen Christians a day were killed for their faith in 2023, on average. Nigeria remains the deadliest place to follow Jesus; 82% of killings happened here. Violence only eased during Nigeria’s election, which accounted for a drop in the number of Christians killed compared to 2023.”

The organisation said the number of attacks on churches and Christian-run schools, hospitals and cemeteries has exploded in 2023, up seven-fold compared to the previous year.

“It’s been driven by mob violence in India, church closures in China, and attacks in Nigeria, Nicaragua and Ethiopia.” it said.

On displaced Christians, Open Doors said, “When countries are destabilised by war or extremism, Christians are at risk. In 2023, the number of believers forced to flee their homes more than doubled. Across the most dangerous countries for believers in Sub-Saharan, about 3% of all Christians are displaced.

Open Doors said Algeria went up four places on the World Watch List with a disturbing increase in persecution. It said, “Previously, there were 47 Protestant churches in the country. Now only four remain open, and they are under intense pressure.”

In China, the organisation reported that at least 10,000 churches were closed.

It said, “Most were house churches but official churches are under pressure too. New regulation means churches must display signs reading ‘Love the communist party, love the country, love the region.’ Digital surveillance is growing, with Christians in one province required to register on a state-controlled app before attending church services.

Open Doors CEO, Ryan Brown, called on Christians worldwide to support fellow believers who are facing persecution.

“As Christian persecution rises to the most significant levels in history, there’s an opportunity for us as believers to come alongside and support our brothers and sisters in Christ as they are enduring persecution for the sake of the Gospel.

“There is no better reminder than the annual release of the World Watch List that we need to stay informed about and in prayer for our persecuted family members throughout the world,” Mr Brown said.

Open Doors US is part of Open Doors International, a global membership organisation with 25 national bases that has supported and strengthened persecuted Christians for more than 60 years and works in 70 countries. It provides practical support to persecuted Christians such as food, medicines, trauma care, legal assistance, safe houses and schools. It also supports Christians by providing literature, training and resources.

See the full list of countries where Chriastians are persecuted most:

  1. North Korea
  2. Somalia
  3. Libya
  4. Eritrea
  5. Yemen
  6. Nigeria
  7. Pakistan
  8. Sudan
  9. Iran
  10. Afghanistan
  11. India
  12. Syria
  13. Saudi Arabia
  14. Mali
  15. Algeria
  16. Iraq
  17. Myanmar
  18. Maldives
  19. China
  20. Burkina Faso
  21. Laos
  22. Cuba
  23. Mauritania
  24. Morocco
  25. Uzbekistan
  26. Bangladesh
  27. Niger
  28. Central African Republic
  29. Turkmenistan.
  30. Nicaragua
  31. Oman
  32. Ethiopia
  33. Tunisia
  34. Colombia
  35. Vietnam
  36. Bhutan
  37. Mexico
  38. Egypt
  39. Mozambique
  40. Qatar
  41. Congo DRC
  42. Indonesia
  43. Cameroon
  44. Brunei
  45. Comoros
  46. Tajikistan
  47. Kazakhstan
  48. Jordan
  49. Malaysia
  50. Turkey


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