(JNS.org) Islamic extremism was one of the major driving forces behind Christian persecution in 2013, according to a new report. The World Watch List (WWL), an annual report published by Christian human rights group Open Doors, ranks the top 50 countries where Christian persecution is the worst in order from “sparse persecution” to “extreme persecution.”
Of the 14 countries labeled as “extreme persecution,” 11 of them are countries with a predominantly Muslim population, including several Middle Eastern countries such as Syria at number 3, Iraq at number 4, Saudi Arabia at number 6 and Iran at number 9. However, North Korea was the worst offender at number 1.
Egypt, where there has been widespread persecution of its Coptic Christian minority over the past year by the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups, ranked at number 22. While the Palestinian Territories ranked at number 34.
The report noted that in 36 of the 50 countries, Islamic extremism was the driving force behind Christian persecution.
“Countries on the WWL, such as North Korea, Saudi Arabia and throughout the Middle East and North Africa are targeting Christians; imprisoning, punishing, and even in some cases murdering people who choose to express privately or publicly their Christian faith,” said Open Doors USA President/CEO Dr. David Curry.