The Bible tells Christians to beware, that to follow Jesus paves the way for a life of challenge, mocking and persecution — that specifically, as Matthew 10:22 states, “you will be hated by all for [His] name’s sake.”
Well, according to a new report from Open Doors, a nonprofit that supports the spread of the faith in even the most hostile of areas, that ain’t no joke.
Fully 215 million Christians are right now facing “high levels of persecution” in 60 different countries, with “Islamic oppression” the driving factor in eight of the top ten, the nonprofit found, in its latest World Watch List 2018.
North Korea, for the 16th year in a row, ranked worst for Christian persecution. That’s followed, in order, by Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, Pakistan, Eritrea, Libya, Iraq, Yemen and Iran. Number 12 is our friendly Mideast ally, Saudi Arabia; Number 15, the country of mass migration, Syria.
So what exactly are Christians in those country facing?
“During the World Watch List 2018 reporting period,” the nonprofit found, “3,066 Christians were killed; 1,252 were abducted,; 1,020 were raped or sexually harassed; and 793 churches were attacked.”
Those were the numbers of incidents reported. Doubtless — particularly in the rape category — many went unreported.
And here’s this notable factoid, for all the Muslim apologists of the world: “Islamic oppression fuels persecution in 8 of the top 10 countries.”
It went on: “Islamic oppression is one of the most widely recognized sources of persecution for Christians in the world today — and it continues to spread — aiming to bring many parts of the world under Sharia law. The movement, which often results in Islamic militancy and persecution of Christians, is expanding in Asia (Philippines, Bangladesh, Indonesia) and Africa (Egypt, Nigeria, Somalia).”
The religion of peace, at it again.
Open Doors suggests prayer. That’s good, very effective. But militarily taking out the radical Islamic forces who seek to bring the world to submission to sharia law would be good, too.
After all, nobody wants to admit it — nobody in politics, that is — but what we have here, at least in a large portion of these persecuting nations, is primarily a religious war. And it’s one that’s being waged by Islam against Christianity — by Sharia-minded Muslims bent on forcing innocent Christians to submit to a false god.
Cheryl Chumley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter, @ckchumley.