A report from the non-denominational group Open Doors says the number of Christians martyred around the world for their faith nearly doubled in 2013.
The report documents 2,123 Christians killed for their faith in 2013 versus 1,201 killed in 2012.
Details, carried in Reuters, show that over half the deaths took place Syria alone. However, because many of those deaths are due to heightened tensions from the civil war, Open Doors ranked “North Korea at the top of its list of 50 most dangerous countries for Christians.”
The next four most dangerous were “Somalia, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan.”
Open Doors’ France’s Michael Varton said ongoing conflicts and wars that pit Islamists against others–as in Syria–are especially dangerous for Christians. The report says, “Islamist extremism is the worst persecutor of the church worldwide.”
The report makes clear that in North Korea the issue isn’t always the number of Christians killed but the number held as political prisoners for their faith. Open Doors estimates “50,000 to 70,000 [Christians] lived in political prison camps.”
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins.