Here are the top 10 countries, many of which are “friends” of the United States, where Christians face dire persecution today.
“Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters… Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.” – Hebrews 13:1-3.
Christians are familiar with biblical martyrs, those who were imprisoned and/or killed for their faith. But many Christians are unaware that Christian persecution continues unabated in many countries. This is especially concerning because many of the countries where Christians are routinely persecuted are considered “friends” of the United States. Here are the top 10 places where Christians face the greatest persecution today.
Algeria has strict Muslim blasphemy laws which make Christianity difficult to maintain. Nearly 30% of the country’s Christian churches were closed by the Algerian government last year.
From afar, as compared to other Middle Eastern countries, Egypt seems progressive. This is not necessarily the case. Islam is the official religion in Egypt and Sharai’ah law is the law of the land. Christian churches in Egypt have been ransacked by mobs and Christians arrested and imprisoned for their religion.
Eritrea is an African country on the border of the Red Sea. Christians here are imprisoned, tortured, and held in harsh conditions simply for choosing Christianity as their religion.
India, a strong business partner to the United States, is another country many consider progressive but Hindu attacks on Christians in India are not uncommon and strict anti-conversion laws make Christianity difficult to sustain. It has been reported that Hindu mobs who attack Christians for their faith are often ignored by local law enforcement who “look the other way”.
In Iran, converting from Islam is illegal. Punishment for conversion includes harsh prison sentences. Still, nearly one million Christians live in Iran, many of whom are given prison sentences for “acting against national security”.
Even though U.S. forces defeated ISIS, the United States neglected to ensure freedom of religion in the area was protected. Christians are commonly persecuted by Islamic extremists. The persecution is so severe, many Christians churches display no outward identification (e.g. signage, crosses) in order to protect members from discrimination.
North Korea has consistently topped the World Watch List as the most dangerous country for Christians. It is the reason many Americans are furious at the US government’s attempts to strike peace deals without insisting on protections for Christians.
Saudi Arabia is another American ally that consistently persecutes Christians yet remains friendly to the United States on a political front. This is baffling to many Americans who understand that Saudi Arabia bans the practice of non-Muslim religions and allows no Christian churches in the country. Violation of their edict is punishable by death.
More than 10% of Sri Lanka’s inhabitants profess to following the Christian faith. Still, Muslim extremists attacked three churches on Easter Sunday, killing more than 250 Christians. Christians in Sri Lanka continue to face persecution and threats on a daily basis.
Turkey is another US ally that routinely persecutes Christians. Ministers have been imprisoned and visas revoked for dozens of Christians. Christians in the country say Turkey’s objective is to completely “exterminate” Christians in the country.
What you can do
It’s important that Christians follow world events taking into account the bias of news sources. To assist persecuted Christians, write letters to your government and of course, pray for fellow Christians.