NORTH KOREA — Longstanding Christian communities could disappear in parts of sub-Saharan Africa through a double blow of violent instability and authoritarian control. Christian minorities across east and west Africa face twin existential threats: violent disorder exploited by radical jihadists and autocratic governments backed by larger powers outside the region.This is one of the disturbing findings of the Open Doors 2024 World Watch List (WWL), which ranks the 50 nations where Christians face the most extreme persecution and discrimination worldwide.
The charity launched their report to a packed room of UK politicians in parliament this week.
The Christian charity Open Doors UK and Ireland launched their World Watch list to a packed room of around 130 members of the British Parliament this week. The annual report ranks the 50 nations where Christians face the most extreme persecution and discrimination worldwide.
Speaking ahead of the event in Parliament, the charity’s CEO, Henrietta Blyth, shared why North Korea’s topped their list as the world’s most dangerous country to be a Christian.
Henrietta Blyth – Open Doors UK & Ireland CEO:
“The reason is that Kim Jong-un insists that everyone worships him and his forebears and nothing else. So if you’re found with the Bible, if you’re found talking about Jesus, you can be executed on the spot or you and your extended family can be taken to one of the internment camps. What’s shifted this year is that it’s become much more dangerous for people who escaped to China. So China recently repatriated 600 North Koreans, some of whom are likely to be Christians.”
One of the most disturbing findings was to scale the persecution taking place in sub-Saharan Africa, where at least 4,606 Christians were killed because of their faith.
Father Stephen Ojapa, who served in ministry in northwestern Nigeria, was kidnapped in in 2022 by Fulani bandits and held in captivity for 33 days. He says it’s vital the British government and Christians around the world challenge the Nigerian government over these atrocities taking place in his country.
Father Stephen Ojapa:
“There should be a lot of pressure on the government of Nigeria, a lot of pressure, to get things right.”
Dabrina Bet Tamraz, an Assyrian Christian who fled Iran after serving in prison for her faith, said despite so many restrictions there, the church is growing rapidly.
Dabrina Bet Tamraz:
“I believe that many Iranians are open to know the true God and the true God of Christianity. Jesus is the one who is evangelising today in Iran. He appears in dreams and vision to people. He is doing signs and wonders among the Iranian people.”
And MP Fiona Bruce, the Prime Minister’s special envoy for freedom of religion, said, It’s vital we continue to work together on behalf of the 365 million Christians persecuted across the world today.
Whilst persecution is increasing across the world, so too is the determination of people, of activists, of organisations like Open Doors to work together so that we can address this and seek to help and support people who are suffering so much, whether it’s a loss of a job, a lack of an employment, the loss of their home, or even worse, being physically attacked.
About Open Doors UK
Open Doors is a non-denominational mission that supports persecuted Christians in over 70 countries where Christianity is socially or legally discouraged or oppressed. In their work, they provide vital support, training, and resources to those facing persecution or discrimination.
Resources that they provide include distributing Bibles and literature, running leadership training, assisting with socio-economic development and intercessory prayer. They also help victims of violence and disaster, including widows and orphans, with practical support such as relief aid, livelihood support, and community development projects.
Their vision is of a world in which every Christian who is persecuted is remembered and supported by other Christians. They pray for a world where there is no persecution.
- Global News Alliance, Open Doors Launches 2024 World Watch List in UK Parliament
- Open Doors UK, Official Website