The Problem

100,000 million Christians face persecution simply for following Jesus 
The Problem

World Watch List 2016: Key facts

Get to grips with some of the basic facts we can learn from this year’s World Watch List…

  • The persecution of Christians has increased… across every region in which Open Doors works.
  • Religious extremism – Islamic, Hindu and Buddhist – is the greatest source of persecution of Christians.
  • North Korea is still the most difficult place in the world to be a Christian.
  • As well as in the Middle East, Islamic extremism has a second and powerfully destructive hub in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Islamic State (IS) violence is radicalising Muslims and therefore increasing pressure on Christians in many countries.
  • Conflict and failed nation states result in increased levels of persecution.
  • According to the UN, a record 60 million people have been displaced. A great number of these are Christians, especially in places like Syria, Iraq and Nigeria, where anti-Christian violence has driven hundreds of thousands of Christians from their homes.
  • Gender violence is a weapon of persecution: women and girls are on the frontline.
  • Open Doors records show that worldwide there were well over 7,000 Christians killed for faith-related reasons in the reporting period. That is a rise of almost 3,000 in comparison to conservative figures from the WWL 2015 period. This is excluding North Korea, Syria and Iraq, where accurate records do not exist.
  • Around 2,400 churches were attacked or damaged, which is over double the number for the previous year.
  • In six countries the level of persecution increased seriously (by 7 points or more): Eritrea, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan and Kuwait.
  • In nine countries the level of persecution increased significantly (by 5 to 6 points): India, Ethiopia, UAE, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Yemen, Kenya, Indonesia and Niger.

We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.