World Watch List 2009

Open Doors has released its World Watch List for 2009 of the countries where Christians suffer the greatest persecution.

Open Doors World Watch List 2009

The WWL Top Ten Ranking

This year’s number one on the World Watch List is no stranger: North Korea has topped the list for seven years in a row. There is no other country in the world where Christians are being persecuted in such a horrible and relentless way. The Wahhabi kingdom of Saudi Arabia holds a solid second place, sharing the same amount of points with a country that’s also ruled by Sharia law: Iran.

Islam also is the official religion in Afghanistan, Somalia and the Maldives; the countries in the fourth, fifth and sixth position. Afghanistan rose from seventh to fourth place. The country moved up on the list as a result of increased pressure from the Taliban movement during 2008; the situation in the country is tense. On seventh place we come across Yemen, whose position changed from six to seven, but there was no major change in the lack of religious freedom for Christians in Yemen in 2008. There was no big change to the status of religious freedom in Laos; the country is still number eight on the list.

Two new countries have entered the top ten: Somalia and Eritrea. For Eritrea the total number of points did not change compared to last year, but other countries dropping off the ten made it go up. Nevertheless, the deplorable situation of Christians in this country very much justifies a position in the top ten. In Somalia the number of incidents against Christians increased dramatically in 2008, explaining its rise from twelve to five. For China and Bhutan, countries that dropped out of the top ten, an explanation is given in the section “Changes for the Better.’’ (Click here for a free copy of the complete and comprehensive World Watch List. )

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