Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Worldwide Persecution Update: 245 Million Christians Who Live In Areas Of Extreme Or High Persecution



'60,000 Christians in Concentration Camps in North Korea'



North Korea again tops the list of the 50 most dangerous countries to follow Jesus Christ.

The 2019 World Watch List released Wednesday by Open Doors USA highlights where action is desperately needed to protect Christians, according to CNN.

The spread of radical Islam increases the danger for Christians worldwide. “Many Christians are being killed because of their faith,” said Father Daniel Alkhory, an Iraqi native.

Alkhory preaches to nearly 200 families in Iraq where he faces intense persecution by Al-Qaeda.
CBN News asked Alkhory why he stays while other priests have left due to safety concerns.


“I’m staying to stay with my people,” he responded. “So this is the only thing that is keeping me staying there and helping them because they need help now urgently. So if I am not going to be there who is going to help them?”
Iraq is number 13 on the watch list of countries where Christians face the most persecution.
For the last 27 years, Open Doors USA has documented the most oppressive and restrictive countries for Christians. Topping this year’s list is North Korea followed by Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, and Pakistan.

Top 10 Countries Where Christians are Persecuted
1. North Korea
2. Afghanistan
3. Somalia
4. Libya
5. Pakistan
6. Sudan
7. Eritrea
8. Yemen
9. Iran
10. India
“We believe now based on our research that there are over 245 million Christians who live in areas of extreme or high persecution – that’s a lot,” David Curry, president & CEO of Open Doors USA told CBN News.


Curry adds that violence against Christians increased dramatically this past year in China.
“They moved up from #41 to #27 on the list,” he told CBN News. “That’s a big jump. It’s a huge jump and it shows things are getting more difficult for China and it’s a big church so a lot of people are affected.”

North Korea remains number one for the 18th year in a row, despite talks between President Trump and Dictator Kim Jong Un.
“I would love to see human rights be a part of the discussion when you are talking about nuclear arms because you can tell within 30, 60, 90 days if conditions have improved for Christians in the labor camps,” Curry explained. “Right now, there are over 60,000 Christians in labor camps in North Korea. A lot of people don’t know that.”
Vice President Mike Pence reaffirmed that the White House will always be a champion for people of faith.
“Protecting and promoting religious freedom is a foreign policy priority of this administration,” Pence said.
Open Doors continues its efforts hoping governments, human rights groups, and other organizations will take notice, get involved and help believers.
For example, Bahrain dropped off the list this year after meeting with Christian leaders to set up a safe space for people to worship. Curry says it’s a role model in the Middle East.







Two Iranian Christians at their final appeal hearing were ordered by a court to renounce their Christian faith to gain their freedom but they refused to do so.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide said the hearing took place on Tuesday in Tehran, where Christians Saheb Fadaie and Fatemeh Bakhteri were ordered by presiding judges Hassan Babaee and Ahmad Zargar to turn away from their religion.
The believers, who refused to comply, have been convicted of “spreading propaganda against the regime,” and are waiting to hear their final verdict. In September, Fadaie was sentenced to 18 months in prison, along with two years of internal exile, while Bakhteri was sentenced to one year in prison.
The Christians were arrested and convicted for discussing Christian doctrine in a house church, which was deemed to be an attack on Islam, the dominant religion in Iran.
Fadaie is already serving a 10-year prison sentence in the notorious Evin prison in Tehran, convicted in July 2017 along with three other Christians “for acting against national security” by “promoting Zionist Christianity.”
The CSW head insisted that the two Christians deserve due process and to have their verdicts overturned.
“We also continue to urge the Iranian government to cease all forms of harassment and intimidation of peaceable religious communities, and to release all those detained in connection with their religion or belief,” he said.
In October, a ministry helping Iranian believers told The Christian Post that it was witnessing one of the "fastest growing underground church movements" in the world.
Mike Ansari, president of Heart4Iran Ministries, told CP that "the persecution of minorities has been a constant under the current Islamic regime in Iran. The Iranian converts to Christianity have been systematically arrested and persecuted as heretics."
He attested that the persecution is stemming from a "historic and organic growth of Christianity inside Iran, evidenced by one of the fastest growing underground church movements in the world."




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