365 million Christians now persecuted for their faith
The number of Christians across the world who are suffering persecution and discrimination because of their faith has risen to 365 million, according to the latest research released by Open Doors.
The World Watch List (WWL) 2024 reveals that 1 in 7 Christians worldwide face high levels of persecution and discrimination for their faith, with the total number of Christians being persecuted rising 5 million in the last 12 months.
CEO of Open Doors Australia and New Zealand, Adam Holland, said the rise of Islamic extremism and autocratic regimes was unleashing a new wave of violence against Christians.
“In many countries, there is no safe place for Christians, with attacks on Christian churches, schools and hospitals rising seven-fold and attacks on the homes of Christians spiking 371 per cent in the past year,” he said.
Discover the full World Watch List 2024 today.
Ongoing conflict in Yemen makes life impossible for Christians
Current events in the Middle East have shone a spotlight on Yemen, which comes in at #5 on this year’s World Watch List. For Christians around the world, praying for their fellow believers in that country is now more critical than ever.
According to Open Doors’ local partners, in Yemen, you cannot reveal that you’re a Christian. You cannot have an identity as a Christian. You cannot start a church or attend one. You cannot get your birth certificate, which means that by law, every Yemeni is a Muslim. You cannot even get married if you’re a believer. Christians are squeezed from every side.
The number of violent incidents is very difficult to measure inside Yemen, as much of the church is a secret church. They are not in contact with other Christians. They sometimes make themselves known through social media, but most live their own secret life, out of the public eye.
In an effort to map the Christian movement, authorities cracked down on Christians in the most recent reporting period, which saw a spike in arrests. Christians who were leading discipleship training groups were arrested, and phones and laptops were confiscated.
One Yemeni believer shared, “Yemen is #5 [on the WWL] because of the impossibility of living as a Christian … It’s very difficult for Christians to come together. You only get together with those Christians you have already known for a long time to avoid being betrayed. And even then, it’s financially challenging to gather because you need transportation. If you need to pay close to 5% to 10% of your salary to get to weekly services, that is significant. So, it’s a combination of the economics, the pressure, and the incidents that are happening. There is targeted persecution from the government, family and community, and as the influence of more extreme and violent Islamic groups grows, we must pray for Christians in Yemen.”
Pray for Yemen:
- Pray for peace to come to a country that has been devastated by ongoing violence and humanitarian crises.
- Pray for the Yemeni church to continue to grow despite the severe persecution they face.
- Pray that Christians would be encouraged and strengthened, knowing the body of Christ is praying for them.
Stay updated with the latest prayer requests from the persecuted church.