While in western countries of Christian majority some people describe as “Islamophobia” the mere criticism of Islam, in many Islamic countries Christians suffer a terrible situation.
245 million Christians live in countries where they suffer persecution
Yesterday the Christian NGO Open Doors presented its 2019 World Watch List. The full list can be viewed by clicking here. According to this organization, in 73 countries of the world the persecution of Christians reaches high, very high or extreme levels. Of those 73 countries, there are 11 countries in which this persecution is extreme, 29 in which it is very high and 33 in which there is a high level of persecution. In total, this NGO has analyzed 150 countries and has drawn up a list of the 50 in which Christians face greater repression. In total, about 245 million Christians live in those countries where they suffer persecution. In 2018, 4,305 Christians were killed for their faith around the world, according to the complaint Open Doors.
Nigeria, China and Myanmar lead the list of churches attacked
In addition to the murdered Christians, Open Doors also denounces that in 2018 there has been “an alarming increase in the number of churches attacked, from 783 in 2017 to 1,847 in 2018. This section of violence is also led by Nigeria, with 569 churches attacked, followed by China (171) and Myanmar (100).” From the NGO warn that these numbers should be considered as minimum.
China leads the list of Christians arrested and imprisoned for their faith
On the other hand, Open Doors has also accounted for a considerable increase of Christians arrested, prosecuted and imprisoned for reasons directly related to their faith: from 1,905 in 2017 to 3,150 in 2018. “In this case, it is China that leads the table with the shameful figure of 1,131, at least,” says the NGO, which warns that “new legislation in China and Vietnam show that both countries are increasing control over all forms of religious expression. In China, the situation of religious freedom is the worst in the last decade and begins to remember the time of the Cultural Revolution.“ The report states: “All churches are perceived as a threat if they become big, pour political messages or invite foreigners.”
But the communist regime is not the only threat faced by Christians in China: “Christian converts from the Uyghur Muslim minority in Xinjiang are under pressure from the local government and face persecution from the family and the community,” says the report, which also denounces that Tibetan Christians of Buddhist background “face strong opposition from family, friends, neighbors and the local community.”
North Korea and Afghanistan lead the list of persecuting countries
The list of persecutors is headed by a communist dictatorship, North Korea, followed a few tenths of a second by an Islamic republic: Afghanistan. It is very disappointing to see the scant result of the very long military intervention of various Western countries in Afghan territory, so that after all their lack of religious freedom is comparable to that suffered by the North Koreans. On Afghanistan, the Open Doors report notes: “The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan does not allow any Afghan to become a Christian and recognizes converts as apostates. The Taliban have increased their control over some parts of the country and have an increasing influence.”
Large majority of Islamic countries on the list of persecutors
In that list of 50 persecuting countries we find several communist dictatorships: North Korea (1), Laos (19th position), Vietnam (20th) and China (27th). More striking is the fact of finding several countries with a Christian majority: Eritrea (7), Ethiopia (28), Mexico (39), Kenya (40), Russia (41) and Colombia (47). But what is most significant is that of the 50 countries on the list of Open Doors, 33 belong to the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC). They are the following:
To these countries should be added Syria, whose membership in the OIC is currently suspended.
The fear of Christian parents in North Korea to be betrayed by their own children
On the case of the North Korean communist dictatorship, what the report says is the following: “Christians are seen as hostile elements in society that must be eradicated. Due to the constant indoctrination that permeates the entire country, neighbors and even family members are vigilant and must report anything suspicious to the authorities. Especially children are indoctrinated in such a way that they sometimes betray their own parents, convinced that they are doing something good and correct. Because of this and because of the innocence of children, many parents prefer not to tell their children about their Christian faith, especially when they are still very young.” If they are discovered, this is the fate that awaits them: “not only are they deported to the prison camps as political criminals or even killed in situ, but their families will also share their destiny“.
I include here the video published by Open Doors USA on its Youtube channel to announce its report:
(Photo: Open Doors)
The mail subscription service to Contando Estrelas will allow you to receive in your mailbox a daily email with the new entries published in this blog. It is a free service provided by Feedburner. Once you have entered your email in this box and press the "submit" button, you will receive a confirmation email in your mailbox to activate your subscription.