Afghanistan is now the No. 1 persecutor of Christians in the world after President Biden’s deadly withdrawal last year, according to Open Doors.
Overall, Christian persecution rose at an “alarming rate” last year with more than 360 million believers worldwide facing high levels of persecution and discrimination for their faith, amounting to 1 in 7 followers of Christ, the watchdog reports in its 2022 World Watch List released Wednesday.
Worst of all is Afghanistan where every Christian is now either in hiding or on the run from persecution.
Afghanistan is now the No. 1 persecutor of Christians in the world after President Biden’s deadly withdrawal last year, according to @OpenDoors.Tweet
“Conditions for Christians have never been more dangerous,” said Curry. “We must take decisive action now to prevent a religious genocide against Christians in Afghanistan.”
The punishment for being Christian in Afghanistan is death, where the Taliban labels believers “infidels” or traitors, enemies of the state, enemies of the tribe and even the community.
1 in 7 Christians worldwide faces high levels of persecution and discrimination for their faith, according to @OpenDoors.Tweet
Despite North Korea moving out of the top spot, its persecution has not lessened since last year.
“People should not interpret this to mean that North Korea has gotten any safer for religious minorities. In fact, the situation there is worse,” said Open Doors USA President and CEO, David Curry. “That should tell you everything you need to know about how bad conditions are for Christians who remain in Afghanistan.”
According to Open Doors, Afghanistan is followed by North Korea, Somalia, Libya, Yemen, Eritrea, Nigeria, Pakistan, Iran, and India as the top ten countries most dangerous for followers of Christ.
Radical Islamic terrorism is the greatest threat to believers in seven of the top 10 countries on the list. In addition to the resurgence of the Taliban, the surge of Islamic radicalism from groups like Boko Haram, al Shabab and the Islamic State has put millions of Christians at risk.
Christian women are “the most vulnerable group in the world today” as the targets of kidnapping, violence, rape, and forced marriages around the world, according to @OpenDoors.Tweet
Sub-Saharan Africa continues to be a hotbed for religiously-motivated attacks against Christians. Nigeria, which jumped from No. 9 to No. 7, was the most violent country for Christians again, with 79 percent of recorded killings occurring there.
“Open Doors’ research is irrefutable proof that Nigeria’s human rights violations must be reinstated on the State Department’s list of countries of particular concern,” noted Curry. “Islamic extremism around the world has been galvanized by the victory of the Taliban in Afghanistan—and Christians pay the consequences.”
With an estimated 100 million Christians, China remains a serious threat ranked at 17. Curry and Open Doors are calling on American Christians to boycott the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympic Games.
“Open Doors applauds the Biden administration for taking a stand against China’s human rights violations with a diplomatic boycott,” said Curry. “However, today, as the leading advocacy group focused on religious freedom, Open Doors USA calls on every Christian in the United States to join this Olympic boycott in the name of persecuted Christians and Muslims in China”
The country recently implemented additional restrictions on Christian Bibles and literature online. Soon, Christians in China will only have access to Bibles with key passages removed or altered because they conflict with communist dogma. As a result of persecution, Open Doors estimates around 80% of Christian churches in China have now fractured into small groups or have gone underground.
Pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world. @OpenDoorsTweet