The Year of Fear: Persecution Trends in 2018

The stark fact is this: globally, persecution of Christians is increasing. For millions of Christians around the world, 2017 has been a 'year of fear', so they need our support now more than ever.

But where there is great fear, there is also great faith. What this List also shows is that the church may be persecuted, it may be suppressed, attacked, vilified, lied about. But it has not been, and will never be, defeated.

Globally there are 2.48 billion Christians. Out of these, approximately 215 million or 1 in every 12 Christians in the Top 50 countries of the World Watch List, is considered to be suffering from “extreme” levels of persecution, according to the Open Doors 2018 World Watch List (WWL), released today.

Every year, Open Doors publishes the World Watch List, the list of the top 50 countries where it’s hardest to be a Christian. The WWL measures the types of persecution Christians all over the world experience from their government, community and even their own families. It also accounts for the restrictions Christians face in their private lives, their ability to meet and worship with other believers, as well as the physical violence they are subjected to.

This year, North Korea and Afghanistan scored highest in the persecution of Christians, topping the 2018 WWL. Although completely different in politics and social structure, research for the period November 2016 – October 2017 showed these two countries receiving maximum scores for pressure on Christians. Only the score for violence made a distinction between first and second place. It was, however, Pakistan which had the unenviable honour of being the only country on the 2018 WWL to score maximum points for violence against Christians.