The top 10 worst countries for Christian persecution

A child displaced by fighting between the Iraqi army and the Islamic State group rides in a truck to a camp for displaced families Jan. 27 in Mosul, Iraq. (CNS photo/Paul Jeffrey) 

(RNS) For the 16th year in a row, North Korea tops the list of 50 countries ranked for the worst persecution of Christians in the world, according to the Christian watchdog organization Open Doors USA.

A close second is Afghanistan, which jumped up one place since last year’s ranking. With the exception of North Korea, all the countries that cracked the top 10 are predominantly Muslim and most are in the Middle East and Africa.

Advertisement

“Open Doors exists to support and to advocate for persecuted Christians where ever they may be in the world,” Open Doors USA’s CEO and president, David Curry, said in announcing the list in Washington on Wednesday (Jan. 10). “We are asking that the world begin to use its power and its influence to push for justice, that we would use the list to direct us where justice is needed most in the world today.”

Curry also highlighted three trends Open Doors identifies as persecution against Christians — the rise of “rogue agencies” such as the Islamic State group and the North Korean government; “Islamic extremism”; and actions such as rape and forced marriage.

The list is compiled annually by Open Doors, whose researchers assign a point value to incidents of persecution — forced conversions, attacks on churches, arrests, etc. Open Doors has published its list for 26 years.

The group’s top 10 countries where Christians face the most persecution are:

Just below the top 10 is India, where rising Hindu nationalism has increased persecution of other religious groups.

Not on the list of the 50 countries where Christians face the worst persecution: the United States.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

The latest from america

On Oct. 14, 2018, he was canonized by Pope Francis. Today, Salvadorans ask themselves what the transition from “Msgr. Romero”—what he has been called in El Salvador for decades—to “St. Romero” means for his legacy.
Melissa VidaOctober 14, 2019
Pope Francis, tweeting about the new saints he recognized Oct. 13, inadvertently used a hashtag connected to the New Orleans Saints football team. But fans appreciated it, as did the team. (CNS photo)
A hashtag mix-up caused a papal tweet meant to give thanks for the Catholic Church's newest saints to be read as Pope Francis showing support for the New Orleans Saints' football team.
Domenico Giani, lead bodyguard for Pope Francis and head of the Vatican police force, keeps watch as the pope leaves his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican May 1, 2019. Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Giani Oct. 14, nearly two weeks after an internal security notice was leaked to the Italian press. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Domenico Giani resigned after being unable to identify the source of a leak of a confidential Vatican security notice connected to ongoing financial investigations.
Gerard O’ConnellOctober 14, 2019
The cardinal archbishop of Westminster came to Rome with 15 English and Welsh bishops to concelebrate the Mass in which Pope Francis declared Newman a saint, the first British saint to be born after 1800.
Gerard O’ConnellOctober 13, 2019