Open Doors has called on the U.S. State Department to “re-establish Nigeria as a country of particular concern,” a designation reserved for the worst violators of religious freedom. They contend that based on conversations with people who live there,” Nigeria’s absence from the list of countries of particular concern for the second year in a row is “a difficult thing to reconcile.” The World Watch List also reflects the emergence of Sub-Saharan Africa as a trouble spot for Christian persecution, home to four of the top-10 worst persecutors of Christians. “The whole region is heading into catastrophe,” said World Watch Research Managing Director Frans Veerman. “The aim of Islamic State and affiliated groups is to destabilize the entire region, establish an Islamic caliphate, ultimately across the entire continent, and, long term, they are confident this is within their reach. They are helped by other Islamists focusing on non-violent, systemic Islamization,” he added.

Veerman stressed that “it isn’t just governments in Africa that aren’t facing up to the true nature of this religiously motivated purge, it’s governments across the world.” He warned that “the price of this denial is incalculable, not just to Africa, but to the whole world.” Statistics compiled by Open Doors US reveal that more than 360 million Christians worldwide find themselves subject to discrimination and persecution on the basis of their faith, accounting for one out every seven Christians. The watchdog organization said the persecution of Christians as at “the highest levels since the list began nearly 30 years ago.” Open Doors is a “global NGO network which has supported and strengthened persecuted Christians for 68 years and works in more than 70 countries” to provide “practical support to persecuted Christians such as food, medicines, trauma care, legal assistance, safe houses and schools, as well as spiritual support through Christian literature and training.

Source: Christian Post

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