For most Americans, it may seem a simple question. But if the person asking the question is a gun-wielding member of al-Shabab (Arabic for “the Youth”), your answer could mean the difference between life and death.
Al-Shabab terrorists have asked the question in a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya. They’ve gone door to door in a university dormitory asking students that question. And they’ve stopped buses in Somalia and asked every passenger the same question: Are you a Christian or a Muslim?
Muslims are allowed to leave, often after being ordered to recite a Quranic verse to “prove” they are really Muslim, and Christians are murdered.
Al-Shabab says they’re waging a “holy war” (jihad in Arabic) against enemies of Islam. Their goal is to completely eliminate Christians from Somalia. They’ve even circulated a list of suspected Christians; anyone whose name is on the list is executed immediately, if discovered.
Despite al-Shabab’s efforts, there are Christians in Somalia. You can learn about the challenges they face and the specific ways you can pray for them by requesting a free copy of VOM’s Christians Facing Islamic Extremists guide. After you’ve requested a copy for yourself, forward this special offer to your Christian friends so they can join in prayer for our persecuted family.
How can you pray for persecuted Christians? Get new, specific prayer requests by email each week.
Sign up at: www.iCommitToPray.com
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The World Watch List ranks countries according to the intensity of persecution Christians face for actively pursuing their faith. The list is compiled from a specially-designed questionnaire of 50 questions covering various aspects of religious freedom. A point value is assigned depending on how each question is answered. The total number of points per country determines its position on the World Watch List of the world’s worst persecutors of Christians. The World Watch List lists the 50 countries where faith costs the most. The list is based on detailed information from Open Doors co-workers in over 65 countries, as well as independant experts. Worldwide, the List reports an overall increase in the persecution of Christians in 2014.
The Open Doors’ WWL 2015 tracks a marked increase in persecution for Christian communities in a large number of African states. Sudan, Eritrea and Nigeria make their appearance in the Top 10. Kenya and Djibouti have marked the steepest climb on the list, and Tanzania and Eritrea also scored significantly higher compared to 2014.
While Africa saw the most rapid growth of persecution, the Middle East saw targeted attacks, resulting in a mass exodus of Christians. In forty countries of the Top 50, Islamic extremism was a major source of persecution. It would be fair to say that the WWL 2015 again shows that the persecution of Christians seems to become more intense in more countries of the world. Approximately 100 million Christians are persecuted worldwide, making them one of the most persecuted religious groups in the world. While persecution can take many forms, Christians throughout the world risk imprisonment, torture, rape and even death as result of their faith.
World Watch List 2015 – Top 10 Countries – Including Summaries