About one in every seven Christians faces persecution worldwide, thousands of churches were attacked, and thousands of Christians were killed for their faith.
The annual World Watch List from Open Doors, an organisation supporting persecuted Christians, found that 5,621 Christians were murdered for their faith. The report also found that 4,542 Christians were detained and 2,110 churches were attacked.
Open Doors estimates that about 360 million of the world’s roughly 2.3 billion Christians live in countries where they suffer high levels of persecution, with Christians living in Asia and Africa facing a significantly higher chance of facing persecution.
The World Watch List is an annual compilation of the top 50 worst countries when it comes to persecuting Christians for their faith.
The world’s worst offender of Christian persecution is North Korea, as those discovered to practise Christianity or possess a Bible can be sent to a prison camp, face torture, or be killed on the spot, along with their families.
Open Doors reports that life for North Korean Christians has gotten harder, as North Korea’s anti-reactionary thought law and the discovery of several underground churches have furthered the persecution of Christians.
Of the 5,621 Christians who were killed for their faith in the past year, the vast majority of these murders happened in Nigeria
In a country of over 210 million people with roughly half of them identifying as Christian, Open Doors reports that 5,014 Christians were murdered, mostly in northern Nigeria by Islamist militant groups and ignored by government officials.
The top 10 persecutors of Christians are North Korea, Somalia, Yemen, Eritrea, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, and Sudan. Other notable countries who made the list include, India, China, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Egypt, Mexico, Turkey, and Nicaragua.
While Canada avoided inclusion on the top 50 list, Canada has seen an increase in anti-Christian sentiment in recent years.
Amid domestic and international news reports that unmarked graves of indigenous children had been found at residential schools, many churches in Canada have been burnt down or vandalised. True North has kept track of every church that was attacked.
Since the announcement, 83 churches across Canada have been targeted.