More than 360 million Christians live in places where they experience high levels of persecution, simply for following Jesus.
That’s 1 in 7 believers, worldwide.
At Take Heart we serve in four countries on the top 50 World Watch list including Egypt, Iraq, Syria, and Nigeria.
*information on this page compiled from Open Doors USA
Egypt ranks 35th on Open Doors’ World Watch List of countries where Christians are most persecuted.
Persecution against Christians in Egypt happens mostly at the community level and most frequently in Upper Egypt. Incidents may vary from Christian women being harassed on the street, to Christian communities driven out of their homes by extremist mobs. Although Egypt’s government speaks positively about the country’s Christian community, the lack of serious law enforcement and the unwillingness of local authorities to protect Christians leave believers vulnerable to attack.
Iraq ranks 18th on Open Doors’ World Watch List of countries where Christians are most persecuted.
After years of violence, an uncertain peace has come to Iraq—but 2020 saw recurrent violent protests against the government. The instability is a catalyst for the ongoing persecution of Christians. Believers from a Muslim background often keep their faith secret due to the pressure and threats they’re likely to receive from extended family members, clan leaders, and the wider society. Additionally, Islamic extremists remain active in Iraq, attacking and kidnapping Christians.
Syria ranks 12th on Open Doors’ World Watch List of countries where Christians are most persecuted.
Syria’s ongoing civil war has turned the country into a breeding ground for the persecution of Christians. The economic crisis caused by COVID-19 has exacerbated the unrest, which was beginning to lessen until the pandemic hit. Many Christians are still internally displaced or remain as refugees in other countries as a result of war and rising Islamic extremism. In areas controlled by Islamic extremist groups, public expressions of Christianity are banned; most churches have been seized or destroyed.
Nigeria ranks 6th on Open Doors’ World Watch List of countries where Christians are most persecuted.
Violent attacks from Islamic extremist groups (Boko Haram, Hausa-Fulani Muslim militant herdsmen, ISIS affiliate ISWAP) are common in the north and Middle Belt of Nigeria—and they’re becoming more common farther south. Militants often murder Christians or destroy their property and means of livelihood. Men and boys are particularly vulnerable to being killed. The women and children they leave behind are often displaced to informal camps, face sexual violence, and are even at risk of abduction and forced marriages.