By Open Doors 18 January 2021

1 In 8 Christians Persecuted

The World Watch List 2021 has been released, revealing the 50 most dangerous places to be a Christian.

The list has revealed that over 340 million Christians suffer high levels of persecution and discrimination for their faith. That’s 1 in 8 worldwide.

This marks an increase of 80 million persecuted Christians from the previous year.

In 2021, for the first time in the World Watch List’s history, only countries scoring ‘extreme’ or ‘very high’ levels of persecution featured on the top 50, indicating a rise in persecution levels around the world.

COVID-19 has been a particular catalyst for the increase of Christian persecution and discrimination. In India (#10 on the World Watch List 2021), 100,000 Christians received emergency relief from partners of Open Doors. 80% of these believers, reported they had been dismissed from food distribution points because of their faith.

The worldwide pandemic also fuelled the growth of Islamic extremism across sub-Saharan Africa. Churches faced 30% higher levels of violence compared to the 2020 reporting period.

Advancements in technology have also presented opportunities for authorities to monitor Christians closer than ever before. Surveillance cameras, facial recognition and biometric-based technology have been used in places like China (#17). China has an estimated 570 million CCTV cameras, many of which are installed around religious venues.

In addition to the shifting face of persecution, four new countries entered the World Watch List 2021: Mexico (#37), The Democratic Republic Of The Congo (#40), Mozambique (#45) and Comoros (#50).

North Korea remains #1 on the World Watch List for the 20th year in a row.

In the most dangerous countries to follow Jesus, Christians are facing persecution from family, neighbours, colleagues, government and extremists. Yet they continue to follow Jesus, no matter the cost.

Please pray for Christians as they follow Jesus in the most dangerous places on the planet.

Pray For The Persecuted Church In 2021: 

  • Pray persecuted Christians will remain steadfast, finding strength in God’s faithful promises.
  • Pray those who persecute Christians will come to know the love of Jesus.
  • Praise God that in the face of rising persecution, the Church is showing resilience and strength.

Stay updated with the latest prayer requests from the persecuted church.