“215 million Christians experience high levels of persecution” around the world, according to Open Doors, a human rights organization. On its recently released World Watch List 2018, which ranks the world’s 50 worst nations wherein to be Christian, 3,066 Christians were killed, 1,252 abducted, and 1,020 raped or sexually harassed on account of their faith; and 793 churches were attacked or destroyed.
The Islamic world had the lion’s share of this persecution; 38 of the 50 worst nations are Muslim-majority. The report further cites “Islamic oppression” behind the “extreme persecution” that prevails in eight of the 10 worst nations. In short, the overwhelming majority of persecution that these 215 million Christians experience around the world — especially the worst forms, such as rape and murder — occurs at the hands of Muslims.
These Muslims come from all walks of life and reflect a variety of races, nationalities, languages, socio-economic and political circumstances. They include Muslims from among America’s closest allies (Saudi Arabia #12 worst persecutor) and Muslims from its opponents (Iran #10); Muslims from rich nations (Qatar #27 and Kuwait #34) and Muslims from poor nations (Afghanistan #2, Somalia #3, and Yemen #9); Muslims from widely recognized “radical” nations (Pakistan #5), and Muslims from “moderate” nations (Malaysia #23 and Indonesia #38).
But if the World Watch List ranks North Korea — non-Islamic, communist — as the number one worst persecutor of Christians, why belabor the religious identity of Muslims? Surely North Korea’s top spot suggests that Christian persecution is not intrinsic to the Islamic world but is rather a byproduct of repressive regimes and other socio-economic factors that proliferate throughout the Muslim world?