Over 215 million believers are persecuted with intimidation, prison, and even death for their faith in Jesus Christ across the world, Open Doors USA says in a report, listing the top 10 persecutors of Christians.
The report, released this week, notes that hostility against Christians is particularly intense in some areas “due to the focused efforts of either one person or a larger system bent on smashing or squeezing out Christians in the region.”
Half of the top 10 human rights offenders toward Christians are Islamist terror groups, including the Islamic State terror group, also known as IS, ISIS, ISIL or Daesh.
The brutal and targeted attacks from ISIS have driven many Christians to flee countries like Iraq, where Christianity has had a presence for nearly 2,000 years, the report says.
“Ten years ago, there were nearly 1 million Christians living in Iraq, with a large majority of the population living in Mosul. Today, ISIS has been driven out of Iraq and Syria for the most part, but now they are spreading to Southeast Asia. Abū Bakr al-Baghdadi is the current leader of ISIS in western Iraq, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan,” it notes.
While Islamic State was listed as No. 1, the list is not comprehensive or in particular order, the ministry notes.
The second persecutor of Christians listed is the al-Qaeda terror group, which has not been in news much but “has continued to fight in countries throughout the Middle East, often marking Christian communities as specific targets.”
The report mentions particularly Yemen, where Christian converts from Islam are particularly at risk as they are already treated as outcasts by their own communities. “As Al-Qaeda takes advantage of distracted governments, Christians in their path experience intense persecution. Ayman al-Zawahiri, is the current leader of Al-Qaeda.”
Third on the list is North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who met with President Donald Trump at a summit in Singapore earlier this month for an agreement on denuclearization.
North Korea continues to be the most hostile place in the world to be a Christian. According to Open Doors, anywhere from 50,000 to 70,000 Christians are suffering in labor camps in that country.
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Source: Christian Post