Uzbekistan, Laos, Mauritania, Yemen, Afghanistan, Maldives, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Iran and North Korea. Out of all the countries in the world, these are the countries were faith costs the most. These are the countries where churches must meet in secret, where Bibles are difficult to obtain, where believers lose their families, jobs and homes because of their faith. In Uzbekistan, T.V. media regularly airs negative propaganda about Christians, spreading the idea that they are ignorant. In Laos, the government puts strict surveillance on Christians and often arrests them and pressures them to renounce their faith. In North Korea, the worst violator of human and religious rights in the world, Christians are often forced to watch as the government kills their family members.
Every year, Open Doors releases it’s World Watch List, a list of 50 countries where “faith costs the most.” The top ten worst violators were named in the paragraph above. The list focuses on countries where persecution for Christian faith, in any denomination, is the worst. The list does not focus on persecution for political, social, economic or ethnic reasons, although often persecution for those reasons exists as well.
To determine whether or not a country makes it on the list, and what ranking it receives, Open Doors asks a serious of 50 questions. These questions look at the legal versus the real status of Christians, the role the church plays in society, factors that obstruct religious freedom. To see specific questions, look at the full World Watch List at www.odusa.org.
Despite the length of the list, it still does not cover all of the countries where Christians are discriminated against and religious freedom is hindered. Persecution and religious restrictions are a real and widespread problem. I encourage you to “be on watch.” Learn about these countries, pray for the Christians living there, and help bring awareness to a problem that grows more severe every day. Go to www.odusa.org or www.facebook.com/worldwatchlist