North Korea (MNN) — North
the Open Doors World Watch list for the fifth year in a row. The
reclusive communist nation is followed by Saudi
unchanged from last year's List.
The annual list ranks countries according to the intensity
of persecution Christians face for actively pursuing their faith. It's
designed to draw attention to the world's 50 worst persecutors.
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. The report reveals that conditions
continue to deteriorate in many of these countries, although many of the
believers say the Gospel is spreading.
to the list, Yemen (No. 8
last year), Bhutan (No. 6
last year), Vietnam (No. 7
last year), Laos (same) and Afghanistan
(No. 11 last year) now hold spots 6-10. Islam is the majority religion in six of the
top 10 countries: Saudi Arabia,
Iran, Somalia, Maldives,
Yemen and Afghanistan. Three countries have
communist governments: North Korea,
Vietnam and Laos. Bhutan
is the only Buddhist country in the top 10.
there's more sobering news: believers
suffered more through 2006 in countries like Uzbekistan, Eritrea, Comoros,
Iraq, northern Nigeria, Algeria, Mauritania, Turkey, Ethiopia and northeast
Kenya. In No. 21 Iraq, there were
reports of increased violence specifically targeted at Christians in addition
to the daily violence.
Companjen, President of Open Doors International says the list serves as a tool
of awareness and action. Awareness first
of the situation, and, he says, "Then we must pray and act to bring about
about change means to be aware. However,
that's one trend of note to Open Doors leaders.
They wonder whether Christians in the free world are losing interest in
the plight of persecuted Christians. Says Jeff Taylor, Vice President of
Development and Communications, over the last decade, the situation has changed
from only Christian media reporting persecution news to more secular press
covering attacks on Christians in the name of human and religious rights
to pray for persecuted believers around the world, that their faith remains
strong in spite of the test of their faith.
Click here for the complete World Watch List 2007.