Islamic oppression is the cause of this in 33 countries and communism in 7

The 50 countries that most persecute Christians in 2024, with communism and Islam at the top

Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world. In many countries, Christians suffer all kinds of hardships because of their faith.

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317 million Christians suffer persecution in those 50 countries

The Christian NGO Open Doors has been recording year after year the persecution of Christians in the world, with a classification that indicates the 50 countries where the situation is most serious. This Wednesday, Puertas Abiertas has published its 2024 classification, which includes a map in which we can see in orange the countries with very high levels of persecution and in red the countries with extreme levels (click on the image to enlarge it). A few years ago, the list of countries at a very high level has been expanded and, therefore, the map does not include countries with a high level of persecution.

Open Doors points out that in these 50 countries alone, 317 million Christians suffer very high or extreme levels of persecution Likewise, Open Doors points out that 1 in every 7 Christians suffers persecution in the world, a proportion which rises to 1 in 5 Christians in Africa and 2 in 5 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 reasons. In addition, 295,120 Christians have had to flee their places of residence:"In 2023, the number of believers forced to flee their homes more than doubled. Across the most dangerous countries for believers in Sub-Saharan Africa, about 3% of all Christians are displaced."

Seven communist dictatorships on a list headed by North Korea

For yet another year, the list of persecution is headed by the communist dictatorship of North Korea, an extremely oppressive undemocratic regime in which Christians have suffered all kinds of atrocities for decades. Open Doors points out that "is the most dangerous place in the world for Christians. Being discovered as a follower of Jesus is effectively a death sentence. In 2023, the country strengthened its border with China so it’s now harder for Christians to flee and harder for support to reach them."

Six other communist dictatorships appear on the list: Eritrea (4th place), People's Republic of China (19th), Laos (21st), Cuba (22nd), Nicaragua (30th) and Vietnam (35th). About communist China, Open Doors notes: "At least 10,000 churches closed in China in 2023. Most were house churches but official churches are under pressure too. New regulations mean churches must display signs reading, ‘Love the Communist Party, love the country, love the religion.’ Digital surveillance is growing, with Christians in one province required to register on a state-controlled app before attending church services."

In 33 countries Islamic oppression is listed as the cause of persecution

On the other hand, as in previous years, Islamism is the majority cause of the persecution of Christians in the 2024 list, with 33 countries in which Islamic oppression is indicated as a cause: Somalia (2), Libya (3), Yemen (5), Nigeria (6), Pakistan (7), Sudan (8), Iran (9), Afghanistan (10), Saudi Arabia (13), Mali (14), Algeria ( 15), Iraq (16), Maldives (18), Burkina Faso (20), Mauritania (23), Morocco (24), Uzbekistan (25), Niger (27), Central African Republic (28), Turkmenistan (29), Oman (31), Tunisia (33), Egypt (38), Mozambique (39), Qatar (40), Democratic Republic of the Congo (41), Indonesia (42), Cameroon (43), Brunei (44), Comoros ( 45), Jordan (48), Malaysia (49) and Turkey (50).

In addition, the list includes four other Islamic countries in which Christians suffer persecution, such as Syria (12), Bangladesh (26), Tajikistan (46) and Kazakhstan (47), although in this case Open Doors attributes it to a "dictatorial paranoia" of their respective regimes.

Hindu, Buddhist and Orthodox nationalism

On the other hand, Open Doors attributes the persecution to religious nationalism in three cases: India (11, a majority Hindu country), Myanmar (17) and Bhutan (36), the latter two majority Buddhists. In Ethiopia (32), Open Doors attributes the persecution to "Christian denominational protectionism", due to the hostile attitude of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church towards the rest of the Christian confessions.

The cases of Colombia and Mexico

Finally, In Colombia (34) and Mexico (37), two predominantly Christian countries, Open Doors points to "corruption and organized crime" as the cause of persecution. Open Doors comments this in the case of Colombia, governed by the communist Gustavo Petro: "a growing intolerance towards Christian opinions has been detected in the public sphere, especially in issues related to life, family, marriage and religious freedom. Sometimes, Christians can be accused of hate speech and intolerance, which encourages self-censorship."

About Mexico, governed by the communist Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Open Doors points out that "is a strictly secular state, and hostility toward Christian faith and values has generally increased, and public expressions of Christianity face increasing legal scrutiny strong."


Photo: Gracious Adebayo. Evangelical Christians praying in a church in Ogbomosho, Nigeria.

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