Report: 5,621 Christians Murdered for Their Faith in 2022
Christian persecution spiked around the globe in 2022, Open Doors reveals in its newly released World Watch List 2023.
Among the sobering statistics included in the annual report were the murders of 5,621 Christians for their faith, the profanation of 2,110 Christian churches and buildings, and the stunning number of Christians around world who face high levels of persecution and discrimination: 360 million.
The Christian persecution watchdog group Open Doors publishes an annual World Watch List ranking the fifty countries where it is most dangerous to be a Christian.
Topping this year’s list is North Korea, an officially atheist communist state that remains “a brutally hostile place for Christians to live” and where “believers are either sent to labor camps as political prisoners where the conditions are atrocious, or killed on the spot,” the reports states.
In North Korea, Christians have absolutely no freedom and it is nearly impossible for believers to gather or meet to worship. Being a Christian or even possessing a Bible is a serious crime that will be severely punished, the report notes.
The reason for such extreme Christian persecution is that “Christianity is seen as a particular threat to the dictatorial ideology and governance of the country’s barbaric regime,” it declares, and Christians “are viewed as enemies of both the leadership and society in general.”
In second place this year is the African nation of Somalia, a majority Muslim nation where Christians are shunned and often violently attacked.
In Somalia, the “violent insurgent group al-Shabaab has repeatedly expressed its desire to eradicate Christians from the country,” the report notes, and Islamic militants have “intensified their hunt for people who are Christian and in a position of leadership.”
Since “church life” is simply not possible, Christians must meet in secret, the report declares, and while no region of Somalia is safe for Christians, “areas in the south and southwest that under the control of al-Shabaab are the most dangerous.”
Yemen, third on the Watch List, is another country where Islamic extremism is the principal driver of Christian persecution.
It is extremely dangerous to be a Christian in Yemen, “due to the country’s strict Islamic laws and the presence of militant Islamic groups,” the report reveals.
In Yemen, it is illegal to convert from Islam to Christianity and Islamic terror groups such as al-Qaeda and the Islamic State threaten so-called “apostates” with death if they do not return to Islam, it adds.
Islamic extremism is pervasive throughout the list and nine of the top ten nations for Christian persecution are Muslim dominated. In countries such as Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sudan, Libya, and Afghanistan, Islamic extremism is the driving force behind ant-Christian violence and oppression.
In Nigeria, for example, Christians “suffer persecution from an ingrained agenda of enforced Islamization, which is particularly prevalent in the north of the country and has gradually been spreading south,” the report notes.
“Attacks by Islamic militant groups have increased consistently since 2015, but the government has failed to prevent the rise in violence, which affects all Nigerians, but particularly Christians,” it states.