A Shocking Rise in Church Attacks: The Most Horrific Places in the World for Christian Persecution
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North Korea remains the worst nation in the world for Christian persecution, with the situation in Nigeria continuing to devolve, according to a new report on global religious discrimination.
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Overall, Open Doors’ World Watch List 2024 found 4,998 Christians were killed over their faith, a figure the organization said is likely much higher due to underreporting. Meanwhile, 365 million Christians face intense persecution and discrimination for their views.
One of the most alarming statistics in the latest report is the massive, seven-fold rise in church, Christian school, and hospital attacks, with that total increasing from 2,110 in the 2023 study to 14,766 in 2024.
Assaults on Christians’ homes also rose from 4,547 to 21,431, with the number of believers pushed out of their houses expanding from 124,310 to 278,716.
And one of the most sobering lines from a press release surrounding the World Watch List 2024 reads, “More than 82% of Christians killed across the globe for faith reasons were in Nigeria.”
The most recent rankings put Nigeria in the sixth spot for persecution and discrimination. But Nigeria isn’t alone, as persecution in sub-Saharan Africa, more broadly, is an area of concern.
“Faith-related killings in sub-Saharan Africa far outstripped those of any other region on the annual list,” the release read. “This has been a trend for several years.”
Nations like Ethiopia (ranked #32) experienced jumps in attacks on schools and churches and Christian-owned businesses were looted, burned, or taken away more rampantly in nations like Central African Republic (#28).
And these problems only seem to be intensifying.
“Christians are purposefully targeted or extra vulnerable in a continent that is beset by the twin problems of radical Islamic elements and increasingly autocratic regimes,” Frans Veerman, managing director of Open Doors World Watch Research, said in a statement. “This is the ever-growing threat for Christians south of the Sahara Desert and, if left unchecked, these twin pressures are expected to overwhelm them and force them out of their homes and villages.”
India, which ranked #11, has continued to see rising persecution, particularly in Manipur, a northeastern state. An ethnic dispute morphed into an anti-Christian targeting campaign, with 160 being killed and others driven from their homes; just 17 were killed in the previous year’s report.
Attacks on Christian schools and churches in India skyrocketed from 67 in the 2023 report to 2,228 in 2024.
While Nigeria and India have captured a great deal of attention over the past year for horrific incidents of persecution, North Korea must also be mentioned, as the reclusive East Asian country ranks as the nation where persecution is most pronounced. According to the 2024 World Watch List, believers there must practice their faith in “complete secrecy.”
Read the World Watch List for more here.
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