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Report: Afghanistan most dangerous place for Christians


A woman and her children beg Muslim worshippers during Friday prayers in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Sept. 24. Associated Press/Photo by Bernat Armangue

Report: Afghanistan most dangerous place for Christians

North Korea has headlined the annual World Watch List compiled by Open Doors, a Christian watchdog organization, for almost two decades. But Afghanistan dethroned it in 2021 as the most dangerous country for Christians. Open Doors found that the number of Christians being killed for their faith increased by 24 percent worldwide last year, from 4,761 to 5,898. While Open Doors lists the government and communist oppression as the root of violence against Christians in North Korea, it cites Islamic oppression as the key driver of persecution in Afghanistan.

What changed? Open Doors gave both countries the highest scores of 16.7 in every persecution category except violence. The group said Christians’ risk of discovery in Afghanistan has increased since the Islamist Taliban now controls every aspect of government. While the martyrdom rate remains low, Open Doors reported families and communities often kill Christians before the Taliban finds out about them. If they are not killed, converting to Christianity is viewed as a sign of insanity, so some Christians are put in psychiatric hospitals.

Dig deeper: Read Mindy Belz’s memories of her visits with Christians in Afghanistan.


Mary Muncy

Mary Muncy is a graduate of World Journalism Institute and a WORLD Digital intern.

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