Persecution is real. It is a daily reality for hundreds of millions of Christians worldwide.
How do we know this?
Every year, Open Doors produces the World Watch List to rank the top 50 most dangerous countries in which to live in as a Christian. It is the product of both desk and field research and is the only document of its kind.
Independently audited by the International Institute of Religious Freedom, it is the most trusted source of information concerning persecuted Christians.
Here, you can download your own copy of the World Watch List and learn about the plights facing your persecuted family around the globe.
The COVID-19 crisis has worked as a catalyst in many countries, exposing existing oppression and becoming another tool for persecution.
Christians have found it difficult to access humanitarian relief due to high levels of discrimination. Take for instance, India. 80% of Christians receiving aid reported that they were dismissed from food distribution points. Some walked miles and hid their Christian identity to get food elsewhere.
Not only did discrimination increase, but there has been an increase in domestic vulnerability during the imposed COVID-19 lockdown measures. Converts to Christianity and women have been particularly under pressure. Reports of the kidnapping, forcible conversion and forced marriage of women and girls have increased.
While in some parts of the world, restrictions and curfews largely meant a drop in violence against Christians, in sub-Saharan Africa, the Church faced a significant increase in violence. In fact, the pandemic enabled Islamic extremism to spread in Sub-Saharan Africa.
For authoritarian governments, such as China, COVID-19 legitimized increased surveillance and restrictions to control populations that are deviant to the norm, like Christians.
But it wasn’t only governments that used the pandemic to their benefit, but also criminal groups. In Latin America, organized criminal groups used the virus as means to extend their control. In Mexico, when pastors and church leaders challenged the criminal groups control, they could be extorted, ambushed, robbed, shot or even killed.
As 2021 begins, the pandemic is not finished, and neither are its affects on our persecuted brothers and sisters. Please continue to pray with us for our persecuted family.