The Problem

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


Leader: President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi
How many Christians?: A few thousand
World Watch List Rank: 5

“We carry hope that helps us with the certainty that tomorrow will be better!”
Naser, a Yemeni believer

Where is it?

Quick facts

  • Muslims who choose to follow Jesus could face the death penalty.
  • The current conflict has meant radical Islamic groups have expanded their influence and territory – some have abducted Christians.
  • Emergency relief is often given in a discriminatory way, meaning those not thought of as devout Muslims may miss out on vital aid.

The basics

There are only a few thousand Christians in Yemen (most of whom would be migrants or workers from other countries). Those that haven’t fled because of the war have become doubly vulnerable during the current conflict which sparked a massive humanitarian crisis.

Yemen is a strongly Islamic nation, and all Yemenis are considered Muslims. Leaving Islam is forbidden; Muslims who decide to follow Jesus could face the death penalty. There is no room for any open church activities or private worship. The war has allowed radical Islamic groups to expand their operations in certain areas, leading to Christians being abducted and killed. Christians are additionally vulnerable because emergency relief is mostly distributed through Islamic organisations and local mosques. These are believed to discriminate against anybody who is not considered to be a devout Muslim. There are accounts of Yemeni Christians being refused treatment at under-resourced hospitals.

What’s it like for Christians in Yemen?

Life is dangerous for all Christians in Yemen. But some believers in certain areas are at particular risk, such as Christians living in the south, where there is a strong al-Qaeda presence. Converts from Islam to Christianity have also indicated that there is more pressure in the Shiite Muslim-controlled areas in the west than in areas under control of the Sunni government.

The Shiite-controlled areas (which comprise approximately one-third of Yemen’s territory) are heavily policed: any dissenting opinion is rigorously repressed and likely to lead to imprisonment, torture and possibly worse.

The persecution against Christians in Yemen has continued to be extreme for years, and the presence of Islamic extremist groups and the continuing destabilisation of the pandemic and the civil war has made daily life a struggle for most of Yemen’s Christians.

But these courageous believers still carry God’s hope. A Christian who goes by the pseudonym Naser says, “We, the believers, carry hope that helps us with the certainty that tomorrow will be better and that by the will of our Lord, we will pass through this and all the anxieties and fears surrounding us.”

How is Open Doors helping?

Open Doors supports the church on the Arabian Peninsula by organising prayer, distributing Scripture resources, and training believers and pastors.

What to pray for?

Heavenly Father, we pray for our sisters and brothers in Yemen, secretly living for You in one of the most dangerous countries on earth. We pray for Your protection, for an outpouring of Your love and for the hope that only You can give. We pray for peace in Yemen, that leaders of different groups would seek reconciliation and be given a powerful sense of Your love. We ask for secret church leaders and for all efforts around the Arabian Peninsula to strengthen the secret church. We ask these things in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Latest news and articles on Yemen…

Click the Yemen tag below for a list of the latest articles and news on Yemen…

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