by Jordan Hilger
(Worthy News) - 2019 has seen a significant uptick in the persecution of Christians worldwide, according to Open Doors U.S.A.'s most recent World Watch List.
Whereas 215 million Christians were persecuted in 2018 according to last year's report, representing 1 in 12 Christians worldwide, in 2019 that figure saw a dramatic 14% increase, with now 1 in 9 Christians globally experiencing high levels of persecution.
Among countries where Christians are persecuted, Islam remains the most frequent engine driving the oppression of believers, with 38 of the 50 countries on the list being Muslim-majority nations.
"In seven of the top 10 World Watch List countries," continues the report, "the primary cause of persecution is Islamic oppression."
India has entered the top 10 for the first time under the auspices of Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party, as rising ethnic and religious nationalism in Southeast Asia see Christianity as a force that threatens to unify society's lowest classes and most marginalized ethnicities.
Laos, Burma, and Vietnam all made it in the list's top 20, as the nationalistic regimes attempt to stamp out Christianity's potential for tribal minority groups.
The most exponential increase in persecution seems to have occurred in China, where Xi Jinping's government has moved the communist nation forward 16 places on the list from 43rd to 27th.
"The management of religious affairs lies with the communist party now," notes the report.
The additional 30 million Christians who were persecuted this year reflects a disturbing trend, especially in light of the fact that 2018 saw more persecution of Christians than any other year in the modern era.