2016 Was Worst Year Yet for Christian Persecution

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Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world, reported Open Doors last week when releasing its 2017 World Watch List. The list ranks the top 50 countries where it’s most dangerous to be a Christian.

According to the watchdog group, which has tracked and ranked global persecution against Christians over the past 25 years, persecution has worsened for the third year in a row, with 2016 being the “worst year yet.” Over 215 million Christians now live in countries where they’re exposed to verbal harassment, physical violence, and even death because of their faith. North Korea, known for its secretive authoritarian government, remains the most dangerous country for Christians—for the 14th year in a row.

The report also brings to light the fact that persecution fueled by ethnic nationalism, especially in Asia, is quickly on the rise.

“Persecution rose globally again for the third year in a row, indicating how volatile the situation has become,” said Open Doors. “Countries in South and Southeast Asia rapidly rose to unprecedented levels and now rank among such violent areas as the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa.”

Other findings of the report include a rise of 62 percent of killings of Christians in Nigeria, and an average of 40 incidents per month of beatings and church attacks in India. The report also showed that now “Christians are being killed in more countries than before for their faith.”