By: Brian Chilton | January 12, 2017
Every year an organization known as Open Doors posts its annual list of nations in which it is most dangerous to reside as a Christian citizen. The list is evaluated by an outside organization to check for accuracy. The team examines how much persecution is endured by the common Christian in that particular nation according to the persecution suffered in the believer’s private life, by the believer’s community, nation, and even by one’s family. The churchwide persecution and threats of violence are taken into account, as well. Each nation is gauged by a scale of 1 to 100 (with 100 being the most dangerous). The top 50 most dangerous nations are then listed according to the rank given as they are gauged by the persecution scale.
This article will note the top 10 most dangerous nations according to OpenDoorsUSA.org. Most surprising in this list is the nation that is ranked as the most dangerous nation. Hint: the nation is not Islamic. As you read this list, I would ask that you would pray for the citizens of each nation and pray that the leaders of each nation would be changed by the power of God’s grace.
10th Most Dangerous Nation in 2017: Eritrea (Scored 82/100).
Eritrea is not a nation that is commonly known. It sits at the northeastern corner of Africa and borders Sudan to the north, South Sudan to the southwest, Ethiopia to the south, Djibouti in the southeast, and the Red Sea to east. Eritrea’s President is Isaias Afewerk. The two major religions are Christianity and Islam. Of the 5,482,000 citizens of Eritrea, 2,741,000 are Christians (50%). The nation is ruled by one-party and is totalitarian in its regime. The government does not permit any dissent of any kind. The Eritrean Orthodox Church is governmentally controlled, thereby persecuting and imprisoning anyone who becomes Evangelical or Pentecostal. Open Doors USA has reported that some Christians have been locked in containers and died (see link below). Because of the level of persecution suffered by Eritrean Christians, Eritrea ranks 10th among the most dangerous nations for Christians in 2017.
9th Most Dangerous Nation in 2017: Yemen (Scored 85/100).
The Republic of Yemen is located at the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. Yemen borders Saudia Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea to the southern ends of the nation, and Oman to the northeast. Yemen was an area known to be the home of the biblical Sabaeans, or Sheba. The nation is an Islamic land known for producing occasional terrorists, perhaps due to the fact that Yemen is among the poorest of Middle-Eastern countries. Of the 28,120,000 citizens, only a few thousand are Christian.
The major force behind Christian persecution in Yemen is Islamic oppression and ethnic antagonism according to Open Doors USA. Before casting a stone towards the nation, one must note that the citizens have born several political upheavals. According to Open Doors USA, 80% of Yemenis have some form of humanitarian need.
There is good news to report, however. Reports indicate that Yemeni Muslims are turning to Christ in unprecedented numbers. Pray that God would continue to move in Yemen. Pray for both the spiritual and physical needs in Yemen.
8th Most Dangerous Nation in 2017: Iran (Scored 85/100).
Iran, formerly known as Persia, borders Armenia in the northwest, the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and Azerbaijan, the Caspian Sea due north, Turkmenistan in the northeast, Afghanistan and Pakistan in the east, the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman to the south, and Iraq and Turkey to the west.
Iran is an Islamic republic which considers Christianity the byproduct of Western influence. Since the Western world is viewed as evil and Christianity is related to the Western world, then Christianity is held to be an evil force. Converts to Christianity comprise the largest number of Christians in the area which only number 800,000 of the 80,946,000 citizens (roughly 0.009%).
In Iran, churches are often closed; citizens are arrested for being Christian; and ministers and evangelists are often met with violence. Pray for the Christians of Iran and that the mindset of the leaders would come to the realization that Christianity is not a Western byproduct, but actually comes from their region: the Middle East.
7th Most Dangerous Nation in 2017: Iraq (Scored 86/100).
War-torn Iraq finds itself as the 7th most dangerous land for Christians. Iraq hosts several ethnic groups such as the Assyrians, Turks, Shabakis, Yazidis, Armenians, Mandeans, Circassians, and Kawliya. Iraq borders Turkey to the north, Iran to the east, Kuwait to the southeast, Saudi Arabia to the north, Jordan to the southwest, and Syria to the west.
Iraq has a parliamentary democracy. However, only 230,000 of 38,654,000 are Christian (roughly 0.006%). Despite having lived in Iraq for nearly 2,000 years, Christians are on the verge of extinction in Iraq due to the militant campaigns of ISIL. Numerous Christians have been martyred for Christ. For those allowed to live, they are dehumanized and treated as second-class citizens, some even sold into slavery. Pray for the dire conditions of Christians presently living in Iraq. Pray the Christ would intervene and change the hearts of their oppressors.
6th Most Dangerous Nation in 2017: Syria (Scored 86/100).
Syria is a land steeped in Christian history. It was from this area that followers of Christ were renamed “followers of the Way” to the term “Christian” (something meant to be derogatory at the time). The apostle Paul was from this area. It is traditionally held that the apostle Matthew penned the First Gospel from Antioch of Syria, also. Unfortunately, like their brethren in Iraq, Syrian Christians are facing dire times due to the multi-faceted persecution coming from the likes of ISIL and from the constant ongoing civil war. Both Christians and Muslims face heavy persecution in this area. Syrian opposition is becoming increasingly militant, causing massive persecution to Syrian Christians. The stories coming from this area are too difficult for me to even report as they include beheadings, crucifixions, and exquisite forms of torture to both adults and young children alike.
It is an understatement to say that we need to pray for Syria, particularly Syrian Christians. May God intervene and change hearts while bringing an end to this chaotic Syria civil war.
This article will be continued in the post titled “The 10 Worst Nations to Live as a Christian in 2017: Number 1 Will Surprise You (Part 2)” coming to BellatorChristi.com soon.
© 2017. Bellator Christi.