Thousands of Christians worldwide were murdered for their faith last year, new report shows
by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – At least 5,621 Christians around the world were murdered for their faith last year, a new report by the Open Doors persecution watchdog reveals. Ninety percent of the Christians murdered last were in Nigeria, Open Doors said in its report.
In its World Watch 2023 report, Open Doors said the number of countries where Christians are exposed to high and extreme levels of persecution has almost doubled to 76 countries in the 30 years since the organization began its work in aiding persecuted believers around the globe. According to the organization, 360 million Christians face exceedingly dangerous levels of persecution.
Open Doors has placed North Korea back at number one on its new World Watch List (WWL) of the top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted. North Korea had slipped to number two on the annually updated list when Afghanistan temporarily took the lead after being taken over by the Taliban in 2021.
“North Korea has returned to no. 1 with the highest levels of persecution ever seen. Its score of 98, an all-time high, reflects an increase in arrests of Christians, and house-churches discovered and closed – under the new ‘anti-reactionary thought law,” Open Doors said.
However, despite ranking below North Korea at number six on its WWL this year, Open Doors reports that Nigeria suffered the greatest loss of Christian lives in 2022: 3,066 members of Nigeria’s Christian communities were slaughtered by Islamic jihadists last year, with next to no response from the government.
“Boko Haram, ISWAP, Fulani militants, and other armed bandits have conducted devastating raids on Christian communities,” Open Doors said. “The government continues to deny this is religious persecution, so violations of Christians’ rights have been carried out with impunity.”
Meanwhile, Open Doors has had cause to add Nicaragua to the World Watch List, placing the South American country at number 50 for the first time. “This reflects government repression, which escalated since the April 2018 protests,” Open Doors said in its report. “The reputation of authority and legitimacy the Church has in the country has made it a particular target. Church buildings were damaged, TV stations and colleges closed, and religious leaders expelled.”
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