More than 360 million Christians subjected to severe persecution and discrimination last year, says Open Doors

ERMELO, Netherlands — Open Doors, a non-denominational mission supporting persecuted Christians around the world, published a report revealing that between 1 October 2020 and 30 September 2021, over 360 million Christians — Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants, Baptists, Evangelicals, and others — from 76 countries were subjected to severe persecution and discrimination, 20 million more than the estimated 340 million in 2020.

In 2021, 5,898 Christians were killed, an increase of 24% over the previous year. An alarming majority of those killed — 8 out of 10 — were killed in Nigeria, according to Open Doors.

The total number of churches closed or attacked rose to 5,110 last year, compared to 4488 in 2020.

The Open Doors website also recorded a 44% increase in the number of Christians detained because of their religion, from 4,277 cases in 2020 to 6,175 cases in 2021.

Persecution in Afghanistan took on a new dimension following the Taliban takeover of the country.

Afghanistan was ranked the most dangerous country when all forms of persecution were taken into account, followed by North Korea, Somalia, Libya, Yemen, Eritrea, and Nigeria.

Open Doors official Guillaume Genic stated that the Taliban had seized documents that allow identifying some of those who converted to Christianity and chased them.

“Men who convert into Christianity are immediately killed, while women or girls are raped or forcibly married off to Taliban youths,” Genic elaborated, indicating that there are no figures revealing the number of those killed, but it is estimated to be large.