Open Doors USA has released its "World Watch List" rankings of 50 countries where persecution against Christians is prevalent – and the country in the top spot is familiar to Christians who pray for the persecuted.
OneNewsNow talked with Open Doors spokesperson Emily Fuentes about the list, which ranks Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and Iraq high on the list – and for the twelfth consecutive year, North Korea is ranked as the worst country to be a Christian.
"It's one of the most repressive regimes in general for human rights," she explains, "but Christians are specifically targeted here as they face execution or life imprisonment – and often times up to three generations of their family also face life imprisonment for their Christian faith."
Surprisingly, Fuentes notes, Somalia jumped from Number 5 to Number 2. "And this has been due to a significant increase in violence against Christians, and Christians are specifically targeted if they convert from Islam to Christianity," says Fuentes. "It's become much more violent in the past year in this country."
A special concern on the list is Syria, where the internal conflict has killed thousands of people and displaced millions.
"In 2013 we saw that Christian-dominated areas with historically Christian towns have been attacked, and there's even been large massacres in some of these towns and many of them have become ghost towns," laments the ministry spokeswoman.
The complete list is available on the Open Doors website where people can sign up for periodic emails as a reminder to pray for the persecuted church.
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