Some were not interested in losing their power and corrupt privileges. Others preferred to continue their religious life with a “straw God”.
Open Doors has published a list that ranks the 50 toughest states for Christians to live. Islamic extremism is the main cause of persecution.
The worldwide levels of Christian persecution have increased in 2014, according to Open Doors, an international organization that supports persecuted Christians and every year, since 2002, publishes the World Watch List.
In the list, published this week, Open Doors reports that the persecution of Christians has reached historical levels, and the current conditions suggest that the worst is yet to come, because, as Ted Blake, president of Open Doors Spain, has said to Evangelical Focus, the Islamic State´s power is increasing: “Syria and Iraq have been in the news and we have seen how they attacked Christians in those countries, but the Islamic State is acting in a very efficient ways in many other countries like Nigeria, where the Christians are suffering just as bad or even worse”.
Ted Blake warned about the violence of this radical terrorist group: “It is something that is really spreading out all over the world and we need to be really careful with what we do about that”.
THE ISLAMIC RADICALISM
The majority of the 50 countries that appear in the list have something in common: their laws are subject to the sharia, the Islamic doctrine that affirms that there is not a place for any religion but Islam.
The Islamic radicalism has been so present in Iraq and Syria (3rd and 4th in the ranking), because of the power of the Islamic State in those countries, but it has also been present in other countries, specially in Africa.
“As a result of what was called Arab Spring, the radical Islam has been strengthened in a very powerful way, thousands of Christians have died, churches have been burned, homes have been destroyed, just because they think that if you are not Muslim, you do not deserve to live”,explained Ted Blake.
AFRICA: CHRISTIANS IN DANGER
One of the most significant aspects of the World Watch List 2015, is that the majority of African nations on the list have increased in rank due to Islamic extremism, and some of those African countries are new on the list. Kenya made the largest jump, moving up from number 43 to number 19.
The situation is very complicated in two countries that are new in the top ten of the list: Sudan (8) and Nigeria (10), “where the radicals want to exterminate Christianity, they want to make sure Christians do not get strong within those countries, they are merciless in their attacks against Christians”, told us Blake.
According to Open Doors, 4.000 Christians have been murdered by Boko Haram this year, a massacre that includes the kidnapping of children and women.
EUROPE, ON THE SPOTLIGHT
The battle against Islamic radicalism is not only taking place in Middle East, Africa, or Asia,but also in Europe. The attack, this last Wednesday, to the French satiric magazine because of the cartoons about Mohammed, confirms the danger of the extension of radicalisms in Europe.
“The radical Islam is focusing in reconquering all of Europe, and they want to do it by increasing their numbers,so that they can become a majority and then taking over the government. There is a danger that we could end up living under an Islamic state within Europe, just because they become more numerous than us ”, warned the expert of Open Doors.
According to Blake, another problem that European Christians are facing is intolerance: “some Christians in Europe are being targeted and even attacked, for speaking out against things socially accepted like homosexuality, abortion, etc “
NORTH KOREA, AT THE TOP OF THE LIST
Since 2002, when the World Watch List was published for the first time, North Korea remains at the top of the list, as the world’s hardest country to be a Christian, and the Open Doors ´s indicators show a deterioration of the situation there.
Nevertheless, the director of Open Doors has hope for the future: ”we believe that North Korea can experience a change,in fact, there are some people who are beginning to boldly speak out that within 5 years there will be some kind of a change in North Korea, we are getting some messages in that direction”.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
The situation of many Christians all around the world is very difficult, but there is always something we can do: Ted Blake asked us to pray for the persecuted Christians: ”it is the most powerful thing we can do, we need to ask God to help them to stay firm and to continue to do their work”.
We can also write them letters and visit them. In Open Doors, they also encouraged us to be informed, we can find all the information about the persecution of Christians in its webpage.