Open Doors USA recently released a list of the top ten persecutors of Christians around the world. The list includes expected, familiar organizations as well as entities that many may not have heard of before.
Before we get into who is the biggest persecutor, it’s important to know who Open Doors USA is. They are a community of Christians that have been aiding the persecuted for over 60 years. They help people all over the world by providing ministry, teaching tools, Bibles, financial aid, and moral support.
One thing Open Doors makes clear is that while governments play an important role in protecting or harming their Christian populations, the oppression of those who believe in Jesus can’t always be changed by electing a new president or prime minister.
In fact, only Christ, with the help of active Christians and those who back them up in prayer, can bring about lasting change that will enable believers to worship and share their faith freely.
Most readers won’t be surprised by the top two names on the persecutor list. ISIS is in first place due to the fact that its targeted attacks on Christian minorities in Iraq and Syria have driven millions of believers to seek refuge in other countries. Unfortunately, the organization’s defeat in these two nations have not eliminated the threat as ISIS has spread to other countries in the region, including Afghanistan and Libya.
Al-Qaeda, the Muslim organization that spawned ISIS in the first place, is listed as the second largest persecutor of Christians worldwide. It is alive and well in many Asian countries, including Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. It also operates in many countries in north, west and east Africa.
Other Muslim organizations that persecute Christians on an ongoing basis include Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab and militant Hausa-Fulani Muslim Herdsman. These groups are not nearly as large and powerful as ISIS or Al-Qaeda but have still persecuted and murdered hundreds of believers in African countries such as Kenya, Somalia and Nigeria.
The Hausa-Fulani Muslim Herdsman are perhaps the least well-known of the above-mentioned groups but have done a surprisingly large amount of damage to the Christian community in Northern Nigeria. While much of their persecution of Christians stems from the fact that the nomadic herdsmen are searching for fertile land to graze their flocks and herds, there is a very real religious motivation as the nomads attack Christians in any given village yet leave Muslim residents alone.
However, not all major persecutors of Christians are Muslims. The North Korean government has a horrible track record for persecuting Christians mercilessly, sending many of them to prison camps where they face beatings, starvation and hard labor. These camps have expanded in size under Kim Jong Un’s leadership, with the largest one taking up three times as much space as the city of Washington DC.
Hindu extremist organizations in India are also listed as major non-Muslim persecutors of Christians. While these organizations have destroyed churches, threatened Christians and even beaten and killed pastors and missionaries in the past, the threat to the church has grown exponentially under the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
His party, known as the BJP, has a track record for stamping on the rights of minority religions, including Christians. His tenure has seen a growing number of attacks on Christian populations, especially in rural areas.
The drug cartels in Colombia and Mexico also pose a threat to Christian pastors in these countries as active Christian ministers not only speak against the violence caused by drug trafficking but also convert current and potential drug cartel members to Christ.
It is worth noting that the growing number of attacks on Christians around the world has only caused Christianity to grow stronger, not weaker. Christianity is exploding even in nations that make it difficult for believers to support themselves, care for their family and lead a normal life.
Even so, Open Doors is calling on Christians all around the world to pray for Christians who are threatened by one or more of the above-mentioned organizations.
Open Doors offers a list of helpful prayer requests, including requests that members of organizations that currently persecute Christians turn to Christ and become Christians themselves.
The organization also encourages Christians to pray for governments in countries that are affected by the above-mentioned organizations, that those in power may make wise, compassionate decisions in favor of freedom of speech and religion for the general population.
As Open Doors accurately notes in its list of top ten persecutors of Christians worldwide, the real enemy is Satan and his spiritual forces who inspire people who don’t know Christ to persecute those who do. The prayers of the church can make a big difference around the world, thwarting Satan’s efforts to hinder active believers and thus prevent the spread of Christianity in areas that he considers to be his strongholds.
~ Christian Patriot Daily