2022 World Watch List

2022 World Watch List
Gary Fallesen

2022 World Watch List

Persecution’s growing severity

The 2022 World Watch List was released on Jan. 19 by Open Doors ministry, identifying the top 50 countries where it is most difficult to follow Jesus. Among these are five countries in which Climbing For Christ is serving: Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Turkey, and Nepal. C4C has visited and ministered in six other countries on the list.

Afghanistan supplanted North Korea as the most oppressive nation in the world for Christians. North Korea has been at or near the top of the World Watch List for more than 20 years.

Among the nations that moved up on the list because of increased persecution is Indonesia, which leapt from No. 47 in 2021 to No. 28 this year. Indonesia was “one of the biggest risers” on the list, according to Open Doors.

“Sadly, the persecution of Christians in Indonesia has worsened considerably due to an increase in violence,” the World Watch List stated. “After two years without bomb attacks, there were three attacks on Christians within a six-month period between 2020 and 2021, killing eight believers, while Indonesian society has become increasingly hardline Islamic, putting added pressure on Christians.”

Indonesia is the largest Muslim nation in the world with more than 82 percent of the country’s 276 million people following Islam. But there are about 35 million Christians (12.7 percent of the population), according to the Joshua Project.

Pray for the church in Indonesia – and for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are facing severe persecution around the world.

Here are the 50 countries where it is considered most dangerous to be a Christian (boldface are current places Climbing For Christ is ministering and asterisk denotes countries where C4C has served or visited):

Extreme Persecution

1.    Afghanistan (#2 last year; source of persecution: Islamic oppression)
2.    North Korea (#1; communist and post-communist oppression)
3.    Somalia (#3; clan oppression)
4.    Libya (#4; Islamic oppression)
5.    Yemen (#7; Islamic oppression)
6.    Eritrea (#6; dictatorial paranoia)
7.    Nigeria* (#9; Islamic oppression)
8.    Pakistan (#5; Islamic oppression)
9.    Iran (#8; Islamic oppression)
10.    India (#10; religious nationalism)
11.    Saudi Arabia (#14; Islamic oppression)

Very High Persecution

12.    Myanmar (#18; religious nationalism)
13.    Sudan (#13; Islamic oppression)
14.    Iraq (#11; Islamic oppression)
15.    Syria (#12; Islamic oppression)
16.    Maldives (#15; Islamic oppression)
17.    China* (#17; communist and post-communist oppression)
18.    Qatar (#29; Islamic oppression)
19.    Vietnam (unranked; communist and post-communist oppression)
20.    Egypt (#16; Islamic oppression)
21.    Uzbekistan* (#21; dictatorial paranoia)
22.    Algeria (#24; Islamic oppression)
23.    Mauritania (#20; Islamic oppression)
24.    Mali (#28; Islamic oppression)
25.    Turkmenistan (#23; dictatorial paranoia)
26.    Laos (#22; communist and post-communist oppression)
27.    Morocco* (#27; Islamic oppression)
28.    Indonesia (#47; Islamic oppression)
29.    Bangladesh (#31; dictatorial paranoia)
30.    Colombia (#30; organized crime and corruption)
31.    Central Africa Republic (#35; Islamic oppression)
32.    Burkina Faso (#32; Islamic oppression)
33.    Niger (unranked; Islamic oppression)
34.    Bhutan (#43; religious nationalism)
35.    Tunisia* (#26; Islamic oppression)
36.    Oman (#44; clan oppression)
37.    Cuba (unranked; dictatorial paranoia)
38.    Ethiopia (#36; denominational protectionism)
39.    Jordan (#38; Islamic oppression)
40.    Democratic Republic of the Congo (#40; Islamic oppression)
41.    Mozambique* (#45; Islamic oppression)
42.    Turkey (#25; Islamic oppression)
43.    Mexico (#37; organized crime and corruption)
44.    Cameroon (#42; Islamic oppression)
45.    Tajikistan (#33; dictatorial paranoia)
46.    Brunei (#39; Islamic oppression)
47.    Kazakhstan (#41; dictatorial paranoia)
48.    Nepal (#34; religious nationalism)
49.    Kuwait (#48; Islamic oppression)
50.    Malaysia (#46; Islamic oppression)

NOTE: Bangladesh (#31 in 2021), Kenya (#49), and Comoros (#50) were removed from the World Watch List. 

The final Word

“For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.” – Psalm 27:5 (NIV)


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