WORST PERSECUTION YET TO COME [Excerpts]
Last year brought a rising tide of persecution against Christians around the world, according to a new report [by] Open Doors USA.
Open Doors...unveiled its annual World Watch List ranking the 50 most dangerous countries for Christians. North Korea topped the list for the 13th straight year, but conditions worsened the most across Africa, where eight of 12 ranked countries moved up the list.
“The 2015 World Watch List documents the greatest rise in violence against Christians in the world in the modern era,” said David Curry, president and CEO of Open Doors. “Even Christian-majority states are experiencing unprecedented levels of exclusion, discrimination, and violence.”
Although conditions worsened in a host of nations, signs indicate the worst is yet to come. Curry pointed to Iraq, where a decade of increasing persecution led to a major geopolitical problem: the Islamic State.
“Now, that ideology and the tactics used by the Islamic State are being adopted and used in Africa,” he said. “We think it portends big problems to come in that region.”
Kenya rose on the list more than any other country, jumping to No. 19 from No. 43 a year ago. Sudan (No. 6) and Eritrea (No. 9) both moved back into the top 10, and Nigeria (No. 10) moved into the top 10 for the first time ever.
Open Doors found conditions significantly deteriorated in Nigeria, where more than 2,400 people died for their faith in specific, targeted attacks—a number that doesn’t include the scores who have died as collateral damage in Boko Haram attacks. This week The Wall Street Journal reported Boko Haram now controls a swath of land the size of Belgium.
Wednesday’s event featured Damaris Atsen, a Nigerian Christian whose husband was killed by Islamic militants. Atsen, a single mother of four, brushed away tears as she told her story and pleaded for prayers of peace: “We have so many widows in Nigeria.”