New Jersey’s Chris Smith, Syrian Christian refugee set to join Open Doors USA for 2017 World Watch List of countries dangerous for Christians
On Wednesday, Jan. 11, at 9 a.m. ET at the National Press Club in Washington, Open Doors USA will announce its 2017 World Watch List, a ranking of the top 50 countries where it is most dangerous and difficult to be a Christian. The Open Doors World Watch List is a global indicator of countries where human and freedom of religion rights are being violated and countries are most vulnerable to societal unrest and destabilization.
One of the most persecuted groups in the world, Christians were subject to kidnappings, imprisonments and executions in 2016.
For the past 14 years, North Korea has topped the list as the most dangerous place to be a Christian, but the Middle East continues to be an area of concern with its rising violence. The Islamic State and other Islamic extremist groups continue to target Christians with acts of violence and spread terror across the Middle East and Africa. A Pakistani Christian couple was burned to death, Asia Bibi remains in prison, and the killings of Christians in Nigeria saw an increase of more than 62 percent over the last year.
At the press conference, Open Doors USA President and CEO David Curry will release the 2017 World Watch List and provide an update on the persecution of Christians worldwide; Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., will provide remarks on his work in this area; Knox Thames, special advisor for religious minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia at U.S. State Department, will provide commentary on religious freedom; and Edward, a persecuted Christian from Syria, will share firsthand experience
“The Open Doors World Watch List discloses where Christians are being violently targeted specifically due to their faith,” said Curry. “It highlights for Americans where our prayers and resources are of greatest need to support those living without the privilege of freedom of religion like we have.”
About Open Doors USA
For more than 60 years, Open Doors USA has worked in the world’s most oppressive and restrictive countries for Christians. Open Doors works to equip and encourage Christians living in dangerous circumstances with the threat of persecution and equips the Western church to advocate for the persecuted. Christians are one of the most persecuted religious groups in the world and are oppressed in at least 60 countries. For more information, visit OpenDoorsUSA.org.