Christian persecution around the world is a growing problem, says a new report from an agency that documents abuses against Christians across the globe.
Worldwide, the report states, 260 million Christians are facing persecution. This marks a 6% increase from the previous year.
The annual report from Open Doors, released on January 15, ranked North Korea first on its list of 50 most dangerous countries in which to be Christian, the 18th straight year that the country has received that designation.
There are an estimated 300,000 Christians amidst the total population of 25.4 million in North Korea. Open Doors reports that if North Korean Christians are discovered, the government will deport them to labour camps as political criminals or even kill them on the spot.
Meeting other Christians to worship is nearly impossible unless it is done in complete secrecy.
Following North Korea on the World Watch List Top 10 are Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, Pakistan, Eritrea, Sudan, Yemen, Iran and India.
“Christians remain one of the most persecuted religious groups in the world. While persecution of Christians takes many forms, it is defined as any hostility experienced as a result of identification with Christ.
“Christians throughout the world continue to risk imprisonment, loss of home and assets, torture, rape, and even death as a result of their faith,” Open Doors said in a release accompanying the report.