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Urgent: please pray for the launch of the new World Watch List

11 January 2017

The 2017 Open Doors World Watch List, released today, will be launched in Parliament this afternoon. The new list shows that global persecution of Christians is more extreme than ever before.

We have already had a feature in the Guardian this morning, and Pastor Aminu from Nigeria did an interview with the BBC World Service.

Pastor Aminu will be speaking to Parliamentarians at the launch this afternoon. Thanks to the many invitations sent by Open Doors supporters, over 90 MPs have said that they will be attending. Please pray for a good attendance and that the words of Pastor Aminu will touch the hearts of the MPs and officials who are attending the launch.

North Korea still number one

North Korea is number one on the list, as it has been every year since 2002. An estimated 70,000 Christians are imprisoned inside North Korean labour camps. But Somalia, which is number 2 on the list, has persecution levels nearly as high as in North Korea. Islam is Somalia's state religion and all Christians come from a Muslim background - despite conversion being illegal and punishable by death. They face persecution from Islamic extremists as well as from family and friends. Open Doors CEO Lisa Pearce commented: "If a Christian is discovered in Somalia, they are unlikely to live to see another day. Just the suspicion that someone is a Christian can lead to a rushed beheading."

Persecution rises dramatically in Asia

However, persecution of Christians has seen the biggest rises in Laos, Bangladesh, India and Vietnam.

The dramatic and continued rise of persecution in India is clearly a major cause for concern. The second most populous country in the world has seen persecution levels rise for the fourth year running, elevating it to number 15 this year from a ranking of 31 in 2013. Open Doors researchers have recorded over 15 violent attacks on Christians every week - this is a conservative figure as many victims are too scared to report attacks.

Lisa Pearce commented: "This year there is a clear pattern of rising religious intolerance across the Indian sub-continent which affects many millions of Christians. Religious nationalists attempt to forcibly convert people to the dominant faith of their nation, often turning to violence when community discrimination and non-violent oppression do not succeed in imposing their religious beliefs on minority Christians. These Christians are often from the lower castes, such as the Dalits in India who face huge socio-economic problems - they are an easy target for extreme nationalists."

Source: Open Doors

Please pray:

  • For increased media coverage of the persecution faced by Christians in the world today
  • For the launch of the 2017 World Watch List in Parliament - that many MPs will attend and that they will be profoundly affected by what they hear
  • Praise the Lord for the faith and courage of our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ. May their witness inspire all their Christian family around the world.