Open Doors Australia has just released it’s World Watch List for 2020, a ranking of the 50 most dangerous countries in the world to be a Christian.
For a 19th straight year North Korea tops the list, with the situation for Christians in the Communist nation becoming increasingly dire. The majority of the 50 countries lie in what’s been coined the 10/40 window – a belt stretching from Northern Africa through the Middle East, South Asia and on to China. The list identifies the real need in terms of those who are suffering for their faith around the world.
James Kozina is part of the church engagement team with Open Doors Australia, as well being the resident expert on the World Watch List. He told 96five’s Alex Milne that the list provides a good surface level insight into the persecution level of a country.
“Persecution looks different from country to country; it’s not just violence, that’s only one side of what we investigate with the World Watch List. The other side to violence is what we call pressure, which can be more difficult as it’s sustained for a long period of time. That might look like people who can’t get a job because of their faith, while other people might get thrown out of the family home.”
James said that while the top 10 countries have remained relatively unchanged over the past 12 months, Open Doors is seeing significant developments further down the list.
“Last Easter saw a sequence of bombings in Sri Lanka by extremists and that saw a significant rise up to number 30 from much lower. There’s a vast increase in Sub-Saharan Africa due to Islamic extremism, and we’ve seen countries appear in the list that have never been there before. Number 28 is Burkina Faso and is the fastest riser in the list this year.”
According to Open Doors sources over 50 churches in the West African nation of Burkina Faso were attacked in the last year, and several churches have been burnt down.
If you’d like to find out more about the work of Open Doors in supporting the persecuted church they are holding a special event on Tuesday February 25th. The Promise of Persecution is being held at Nexus Church in Everton Park from 9:30am and the guest speaker will be Dr Ron Boyd-MacMillan.
Dr Boyd-MacMillan has smuggled Bibles during the Cold War and trained preachers in Chinese underground churches. He has pastored a church of his own and immersed himself in the theology of persecution.