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For the 37th time, Open Doors USA has released its annual "World Watch List" of nations where Christians are most persecuted. Among the top ten on this latest 50-country list are Nigeria, Iran, Somalia, and Afghanistan. But for the 20th year in a row, North Korea tops the list – and for a number of reasons, according to Open Doors CEO David Curry.
"Obviously the government there is very restrictive," he explains to One News Now. "They want to have total control over the lives of individual citizens; and they see Christians particularly as enemies of the state – they withhold food, they imprison them if they're found with a Bible. It's a very difficult place to be."
The coronavirus and restrictions imposed because of it are keeping Christians in many of the countries confined to their homes so they can't work, and reducing the supply of many items. In some cases, persecutors conduct raids and steal citizens' medical supplies, money, and food.
Curry says COVID's impact is evidenced in another way as well. "We've seen a dramatic increase in the number of Christians murdered because of it," he laments. "It's up 60% over last year – and out of everybody killed, on average 13 Christians killed every day for their faith, ten of those would be in Northern Nigeria."
Boko Haram reigns supreme in that area and is responsible for frequent raids on Christian villages where they destroy churches, steal goods, murder people – and in many cases kidnap women and young girls.
Open Doors is hopeful that in releasing the list Western nations will be encouraged to respond and Christians will be compelled to pray.
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