According to the World Watch List the leading ten persecuting nations
1. North Korea
Christianity is observed as a
dangerous foreign influence which stimulated the collapse of communist regimes
in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union and therefore poses one of the
greatest threats to the regime’s power. As a result, the North Korean
authorities are making harsh efforts to root out Christianity. It is believed
that tens of thousands of Christians are currently suffering in North Korean
prison camps, where they face cruel abuses..
2. Saudi Arabia
Religious freedom does not exist
in the Saudi kingdom where citizens are only allowed to adhere to one religion:
Islam. Conversion to another religion -- is punishable by death.
The deterioration of religious
freedom for Christians started with the victory of conservative parties at the
beginning of 2004, but a new wave of persecution of Christians followed the
election of a hard-line conservative president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in June
Many Christians have not only
been harassed, arrested and beaten. Ethnic Christians are still allowed to
express their faith within their own church walls, but those who come from a
Muslim background face tremendous risk because the government wants them to
return to Islam.
There is no constitution or any
legal provision for the protection of religious freedom. Less than 1% of ethnic
Somalis are Christian, practicing their faith in secret. Iin 2005 believers were
killed by fundamentalist Muslims, and a result, many others fled to Kenya and
other parts of the world.
In the Maldives, Islam is one of
the least evangelized countries on earth. The official state religion and all
citizens must be Muslims. Sharia law is observed, which prohibits the conversion
from Islam to another religion. There are only a handful indigenous believers,
and they live their faith in complete secrecy.
Churches are not allowed
although foreigners are allowed to practice their religion in private if they
don’t encourage citizens to participate.
Buddhism is the state religion
in the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan. Officially, the Christian faith does not
exist and Christians are not allowed to pray or celebrate in public. Christian
house gatherings that involve several families are forbidden. Christians are
being deprived of their rights, such as children’s education, government jobs
and setting up private businesses. Some are arrested as the local police often
use arrests as a pressure tactic to make believers refrain from witnessing.
The new constitution of Bhutan
promises relgious freedom, but believers are not convinced that it will become
an established fact.
The constitution Vietnam
provides for religious freedom but the atheist regime tries to keep religion
under strict control with a system of obligatory registrations. The government
often closes churches, especially in the highlands. In November 2004, a new
ordinance was implemented in Vietnam to regulate religion. Though many feared
this would lead to increasing oppression, it seems that the new ordinance has in
fact resulted in slight improvements.
The Yemeni constitution
guarantees freedom of religion but it also declares that Islam is the state
religion and that sharia is the source of all legislation. The government allows
expatriates some freedom to live out their faith, but Yemeni citizens are not
allowed to convert. There are a handful of converts from Islamic background who
face the death penalty if they are discovered.
Laos is one of the four
remaining communist countries in the world. Its constitution provides for
religious freedom. However, the absence of rule of law and specific regulation
on religious matters allows local officials to interpret and implement the
constitutional provisions as they choose. The Laotian authorities put believers
under strict surveillance.
The regime limits the number of
open churches and regularly closes churches. The situation for Christians has
improved over 2005 in the southern part of the country, butin the north
believers continue to face difficulties and persecution.
In China, the constitution
provides for freedom of religious belief and the government is using new
regulations to pressure unregistered house churches to register and extend
control over them. Authorities still crack down on house churches throughout
China and leaders imprisoned.
these nations. Maybe you would like to focus on one or two of these nations, or
all of them. As the Master leads you.