100,000 million Christians face persecution simply for following Jesus
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.
Forty years ago, in June 1981, one million Bibles were delivered to local Christians on a beach in China by a team from Open Doors. That was impressive, but what happened over the next five years is amazing…