Open Doors Canada in its recent list of countries worst for Christians, has unfolded that Anti-Christian pressure is rising increasingly in South and Southeast Asia. The annual Open Doors World Watch List, 2017 released today, January 11, Wednesday.
The report stated that during the past year countries in South and Southeast Asia namely India, Bangladesh, Laos, Bhutan and Vietnam saw increased levels of persecution. “A stand-out trend is that religious nationalism is driving the Asian countries up the list,” said Dr. Ron Boyd-MacMillan, Director for Strategic Research at Open Doors.
“It’s a long-term trend, it’s been gathering pace since the 1990s when nobody bothered to notice it. But this year, I think it’s really come into its own. It is most visible in India; India is at its highest position on the World Watch List ever. The Hindu extremists are really in power, and a mob can do what they like in India, and it’s a large Church so there are a lot of incidents.”
This index ranks the 50 countries where almost 215 million Christians undergo high levels of persecution due to their identification with Christ. For the 16th consecutive year North Korea ranked No. 1 on the 2017 World Watch List. The report rated that North Korea’s dictatorial regime remained unmatched in its hostility to religion.
Somalia ranked No. 2 and was promoted 4 places up from its previous rank. Somalia remains hostile towards Christian converts, who are detected immediately and are most likely to get killed. Following Somalia were Afghanistan on No.3, Pakistan on No.4, Sudan on No.5, Syria on No. 6, Iraq on No. 7, Iran on No. 8, Yemen at No. 9 and Eritrea on No.10.
The report stated: “Christians are a ‘small and vulnerable minority’ in the majority of the countries on the list, according to Open Doors. In 41 of the top 50 countries, they comprise less than 15% of the population; in 27 countries, less than 5%.”
“An increasingly common form of religious persecution is the deliberate sabotage of homes, churches and villages by extremists aiming to eradicate Christianity from a particular area. This is widely seen in northern Nigeria, Syria and Iraq where, after people have been driven out, homes have been ransacked, churches destroyed and village water sources poisoned.
In Nigeria, cattle are deliberately stolen and crops burned, which makes returning home all but impossible unless significant aid and investment is pumped into the area of need. In addition, frequent so called “lone-wolf” attacks by extremists make those equipped to effect change, and to rebuild, fearful for their safety and the safety of their families.”