Islamic Countries Dominate Open Doors 2011 Brutal Environments for Christians

The Christian Martyrs' Last Prayer, Oil on canvas

Christians loosing their lives in Rome of old

Open Doors USA gathers data and rates countries in their treatment of Christians. 2010 was a bleak year from Christian believers around the world. There has been an assault on Christians in Iraq for several years now. There were 1.4 million Christian believers in Iraq in 2003. Many have been killed and approximately 900,000 have fled to other countries because of the violence towards Christians in the country of Iraq. Iraq Leaps to Eighth Worst Persecutor of Christians.

Then there is the recent insult against Christians through a brutal Christmas bombing at a church service in Alexandria, Egypt.

So many are unaware of what is happening around the world. I gathered a couple of videos as educational tools for those who want to be informed.

So how does the rest of the world rank? North Korea No. 1 for Ninth Straight Year. Despite Communist North Korea topping the annual Open Doors World Watch List (WWL) for the ninth consecutive year, the most dangerous countries in which to practice Christianity are overwhelmingly Islamic ones.

Of the top 10 countries on the 2011 WWL, eight have Islamic majorities. They are Iran, which attempts to extinguish a growing house church movement; Afghanistan, where thousands of believers cluster deep underground; and Saudi Arabia, which still refuses to allow any Saudi person to convert to Christianity. There is Somalia, ruled by terrorists threatening to kill Christian aid workers who feed Somalia’s starving people; Maldives, which claims to be 100 percent Islamic and attempts to maintain that status by eradicating all others; Yemen which attempts to expel all Christian workers; and Iraq ,  which saw extremists massacre 58 Christians in a Baghdad cathedral on Oct. 31.  Of the top 30 countries, only seven have a source other than Islamic extremists as the main persecutors of Christians.

The top 10 in order are:

  • North Korea
  • Iran
  • Afghanistan
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Somalia
  • Maldives
  • Yemen
  • Iraq
  • Uzbekistan
  • Laos, which has a Communist government

Iraq is new to the top 10 list while Mauritania dropped out, going from No. 8 to No. 13.

The annual World Watch List is compiled by the research department of Open Doors International. It tracks the shifting conditions under which Christians live in 77 societies and then ranks the top 50 where it is hardest to practice the Christian faith.

The country that saw the greatest deterioration of Christian religious freedom in the reporting period from Nov. 1, 2009, through Oct. 31, 2010, was Iraq.

“Being a Muslim Background Believer or ‘Secret Believer’ in a Muslim-dominated country puts a bulls-eye on the backs of Christians,” says Open Doors USA President/CEO Dr. Carl Moeller.

Please pray for brave believers like Noreen Bibi who remains in prison in Pakistan after being sentenced to death on a false blasphemy charge.  (This week her Governor was killed by his own body guard for speaking out in her favor).  Pray also for the dwindling Christian population in Iraq who are facing extermination from Muslim extremists.

The country with the largest Christian community on the WWL’s top 15 is Pakistan with more than 5 million believers. Pakistani Christians also faced a sharp erosion of their religious liberty.  Twenty-nine Christians were martyred in the reporting period with at least one killing occurring every month.   Four Christians were sentenced to long terms in jail for blasphemy against Islam, at least 58 Christians were kidnapped, more than 100 Christians were assaulted and 14 churches and properties were damaged.

Egypt is ranked No. 19 on the WWL and could be a focus of persecution this year as 21 Christians were killed in a bomb blast on New Year‘s Day outside the Church of Two Saints in Alexandria.

For more information, including a list of all 50 countries on the WWL, go to

An estimated 100 million Christians worldwide suffer interrogation, arrest and even death for their faith in Christ, with millions more facing discrimination and alienation. Open Doors supports and strengthens believers in the world’s most difficult areas through Bible and Christian literature distribution, leadership training and assistance, Christian community development, prayer and presence ministry and advocacy on behalf of suffering believers.

More on persecution from Open Doors:


One thought on “Islamic Countries Dominate Open Doors 2011 Brutal Environments for Christians

  1. Pingback: Bloodless Persecution | The Good News

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