Written by Sherry
Saturday, 01 March 2008 19:49
From Open Doors:
North Korea Remains Number One Persecutor of Christians
This year's No. 1 spot on Open Doors' 2008 World Watch List is no stranger: North Korea has now topped the list for six years in a row. There is no other country in the world where Christians are being persecuted in such a horrible and relentless way.
Sherry's note: (Go here for more on the story of North Korea's underground Christians.)
More Christians were arrested in North Korea in 2007 than in 2006. Many have been beaten, tortured or killed because of their religious beliefs. Open Doors' local source estimates the number of underground Christians to be at least 200,000, and it's likely that there are as many as 400,000 to 500,000 believers. At least a quarter of the Christians are imprisoned for their faith in political prison camps, from which people rarely get out alive.
Carl Moeller, President/CEO of Open Doors USA, says: "It is certainly not a shock that North Korea is No. 1 on the shame list for the sixth year in a row. There is no other country in the world where Christians are being persecuted in such a horrible and systematic manner. I encourage you to join our prayer campaign for North Korea and to plug in to the many opportunities Open Doors offers to advocate for the oppressed believers during North Korea Freedom Week April 27-May 3."
The rest of the top ten:
The kingdom of Saudi Arabia holds a solid No. 2 place, followed closely by Iran. Maldives is No. 4.
New at No. 5 is Bhutan, moving a few places up from No. 7 last year, mainly because Somalia and Yemen saw a decrease in persecution. The No. 6 spot is taken by Yemen, whose position did not change in spite of a slight drop on the persecution scale.
Afghanistan rose from No. 10 to No. 7. Laos saw little change in religious freedom last year, but it moved up one place, from No. 9 to No. 8. Two new countries entered the Top 10: Uzbekistan at No. 9 and China No. 10. Uzbekistan was No. 11 last year and China No. 12.
Islam is the majority religion in six of the top 10 countries: Saudi Arabia, Iran, Maldives, Afghanistan, Yemen and Uzbekistan. Three countries have communist governments: North Korea, Laos and China. Bhutan is the only Buddhist country on the Top 10 list.
The World Watch List ranks countries according to the intensity of persecution Christians face for actively pursuing their faith. The list is compiled based on the answers to 50 questions covering various aspects of religious freedom from Open Doors' indigenous contacts, field workers and persecuted believers.