Report: 9 out of 10 Top Christian Persecution Countries Due to Islamic Extremism

ICC Note: In the latest report highlighting the status of Christian persecution around the world, 9 out of the top 10 countries are Muslim majority states, and Islamic extremism is the primary cause of their persecution of Christians. North Korea again holds the spot at #1 for the worst persecutor of Christians, but behind that it is Islamic extremism that is largely driving the problem. Another troubling aspect has been the relatively silence of the United States government on the issue, despite efforts within Congress to make it a higher priority for the State Department and the White House. 
By Michael Gryboski

1/09/2014 Middle East (Christian Post) – Nine out of the ten countries ranked the most oppressive for Christians to live in were due to Islamic extremism, according to Open Doors’ annual World Watch List, which was released Wednesday.

With the exception of North Korea – ranked No. 1 for the 12th year in a row – every other country on the top 10 list had as its source of persecution, Islamic extremism. North Korea’s persecution of Christians was due to communist oppression and dictatorial paranoia, explained Open Doors in its 2014 World Watch List. According to the report, the countries with the most extreme persecution besides North Korea are: Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Maldives, Pakistan, Iran, and Yemen, respectively.

Open Doors announced the rankings for its 2014 World Watch List, which documented the 50 nations least tolerant of their Christian population, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The Christian persecution watchdog group’s methodology involved measuring the level of Christian freedom found in five spheres of life: private, family, community, national, and church. A sixth sphere regarding degree of violence also factors in to the rankings.

Dr. David Curry, president and CEO of Open Doors; Dr. Ronald Boyd-MacMillan, head of Strategy and Research for Open Doors International; and Dr. Paul Marshall, author and senior fellow at Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, were among those who gave remarks at the press conference.

America’s Silence on Religious Persecution

In his remarks, Dr. Paul Marshall explained that in contrast to previous years, the United States has been largely silent on the issue of religious persecution. Marshall told The Christian Post that he believes the root of this silence – also seen in Protestant U.S. church, according to him – is in part due to the rise of “realism” regarding diplomacy.

“I think that one reason is because in the State Department you have the ascendency of realism in international relations,” said Marshall. “So you just deal with states according to what you think you can get and don’t seek to delve inside them.”

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