Open Doors Says Trump Must Aid Persecuted Christians or His Presidency Will Fail

Egyptian Christians shout as ambulances transport the bodies of victims killed in the bombing of Cairo's main Coptic cathedral to the funeral, in Cairo, Egypt, on Dec. 12, 2016. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
Egyptian Christians shout as ambulances transport the bodies of victims killed in the bombing of Cairo’s main Coptic cathedral to the funeral, in Cairo, Egypt, on Dec. 12, 2016. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

President-elect Donald Trump must help persecuted religious groups around the world or his administration will fail, said the leader of a nonprofit at the release Wednesday (Jan. 11) of its annual list of the most dangerous countries for Christians.

Religious liberty “is the central issue that they’re going to have to deal with, whether you’re looking at it through the lens of immigration, whether you’re looking at it through the lens of terrorism,” said David Curry, president and CEO of Open Doors USA, which aids Christians threatened by hostile governments and extremist groups.

“We’re hopeful that they take it seriously. If they don’t I think we will see this administration fail,” said Curry, who met with aides to Trump in October and on Tuesday.

Unveiling the list, Open Doors and its supporters in Congress pointed to Islamic extremists as the most deadly force around the world for Christians, followed by governments hostile to Christianity, led by North Korea. Curry said the plight of repressed Christians has deteriorated, as it has in the past several years.

“2016 was the worst year of persecution of Christians on record, with a shocking 215 million Christians experiencing high levels of persecution for their faith,” he said. “Nearly 1 in every 12 Christians in the world today lives in an area or in a culture in which Christianity is illegal, forbidden or punished.

“And yet today the world is largely silent on the shocking wave of religious intolerance,” he added.

For the 15th consecutive year, North Korea tops the list, which is tabulated with an equation that takes into account crimes against Christians and restrictions on practice. Somalia, where the Islamic militia al-Shabab terrorizes Christians, came in second.

The rest of the top 10 resembles a scrambled version of last year’s list, but with the addition of Yemen and the dropping of Libya from 10th to 11th place.

  • North Korea
  • Somalia
  • Afghanistan
  • Pakistan
  • Sudan
  • Syria
  • Iraq
  • Iran
  • Yemen
  • Eritrea

The persecution of Christians is not just “something that happened 2,000 years ago that we read about in the Bible,” said U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., who spoke at the Washington news conference at which the 2017 World Watch List was released.

The list is 50 countries long, with the most problematic concentrated in the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

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SOURCE: Religion News Service
Lauren Markoe