2016 World Watch List

2016 World Watch List

Persecution goes from worse to worst


Open Doors, a ministry that serves the persecuted church, noted last year that 2014 had been an unprecedented year for global persecution of Christians and predicted 2015 would be worse. In releasing the 2016 World Watch List, Open Doors stated: “Christian persecution not only increased, but expanded into areas where there was not the same level of persecution in the previous year.”

In the Middle East, East Africa and Central Asia, for example.

Islamic extremists are mostly to blame.

Some other trends reported in the annual list of the world’s most oppressive countries:
  • Governments became more fearful of Islamic extremism and responded by either (a) boosting nationalism as a counter-force or (b) tightening regulations and increasing surveillance over all religious expression.
  • Muslims throughout the world are becoming more Islamic out of fear that extremists may take over their areas and that IS sleeper cells may wake.
  • More states are lawless, with minorities suffering at the hands of violent groups.
The places where Christians faced the most severe persecution for their faith: (in order) North Korea, Iraq, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Syria, and Pakistan. Pakistan is one of six countries where Climbing For Christ members live and work. The others are Nigeria (ranked 12th), Uzbekistan (15th), Tanzania (36th), Indonesia (43rd) and Turkey (45th).

The complete 2016 World Watch List:

1.    North Korean (#1 last year)
2.    Iraq (3)
3.    Eritrea (9)
4.    Afghanistan (5)
5.    Syria (4)
6.    Pakistan (8)
7.    Somalia (2)
8.    Sudan (6)
9.    Iran (7)
10.    Libya (13)
11.    Yemen (14)
12.    Nigeria (10)
13.    Maldives (11)
14.    Saudi Arabia (12)
15.    Uzbekistan (15)
16.    Kenya (19)
17.    India (21)
18.    Ethiopia (22)
19.    Turkmenistan (20)
20.    Vietnam (16)
21.    Qatar (18)
22.    Egypt (23)
23.    Myanmar (25)
24.    Palestinian Territories (26)
25.    Brunei (27)
26.    Central African Republic (17)
27.    Jordan (30)
28.    Djibouti (24)
29.    Laos (28)
30.    Malaysia (37)
31.    Tajikistan (45)
32.    Tunisia (36)
33.    China (29)
34.    Azerbaijan (46)
35.    Bangladesh (43)
36.    Tanzania (33)
37.    Algeria (36)
38.    Bhutan (31)
39.    Comoros (32)
40.    Mexico (38)
41.    Kuwait (50)
42.    Kazakhstan (42)
43.    Indonesia (47)
44.    Mali (40)
45.    Turkey (41)
46.    Colombia (35)
47.    United Arab Emirates (49)
48.    Bahrain (-)
49.    Niger (-)
50.    Oman (39)

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” – Romans 8:35-37 (ESV)

Originally posted Jan. 24, 2016

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