Open Doors’ 2021 World Watch List to Reveal How COVID and Technology Accelerate Spread of Anti-Religious Bigotry

Open Doors’ 2021 World Watch List to Reveal How COVID and Technology Accelerate Spread of Anti-Religious Bigotry. #OpenDoors #WorldWatchList #2021WorldWatchList #COVID19

Open Doors’ 2021 World Watch List to Reveal How COVID and Technology Accelerate Spread of Anti-Religious Bigotry

This week, persecution watchdog Open Doors USA will announce the 2021 World Watch List, its anticipated annual ranking of the top 50 countries where it is most dangerous to be a Christian – and provide a surprising update on significant shifts in the landscape of Christian persecution worldwide. Open Doors USA President and CEO David Curry addressed media and viewers at an online press conference at 10 a.m. ET, Wednesday, January 13, 2021.

Research-based and highly-cited, the 2021 World Watch List report will reveal disturbing new trends including an opportunistic expansion of extremist violence from Nigeria into Sub-Saharan Africa, implications of technology’s increasing role in the persecution of religious minorities, and new data indicating one-in-eight Christians now suffer for their religious beliefs worldwide. The report will also reveal how and why after several years in an otherwise static position, China’s ranking on the list jumped significantly.

RankCountryPersecutionRegionMain Religion
1KoreaCommunist and post-communist oppressionAsiaAgnosticism
2Afghanistan Clan oppressionCentral AsiaIslam
3SomaliaClan oppressionAfricaIslam
4LibyaIslamic OppressionAfricaIslam
5PakistanIslamic OppressionAsiaIslam

Continue reading to see who ranked 6-10!

Open Doors USA President and CEO David Curry will also release the organizations’ research and findings on the specific impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on religious minorities worldwide. According to Open Doors, the confluence of COVID and technology in 2020 had ominous consequences across the globe, opening avenues for the spread of violence, discrimination and oppression against religious minorities, and gave rise to a surveillance state.

Curry will be joined by Dr. Chris Meserole, a fellow in Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution and director of research and policy of the Brookings Artificial Intelligence and Emerging Technology Initiative. Meserole will share trends, projections and implications on religious freedom and censorship.

RankCountryPersecutionRegionMain Religion
6EritreaDenominational protectionismAfricaIslam
7YemenClan oppressionMiddle EastIslam
8IranIslamic oppressionMiddle EastIslam
9NigeriaIslamic oppressionAfricaIslam, Christianity
10IndiaReligious nationalismAsiaHinduism

US Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, will also make a statement to viewers. Open Doors’ findings will be illustrated by multiple firsthand narratives from recent victims of religious persecution, including a Nigerian healthcare worker widowed by Boko Haram, a former pastor in China’s Three-Self Patriotic movement church, a Uighur-American whose family is detained by China, and an Iranian Christian surveilled by secret police. The organization will issue a challenge Americans to pledge to pray for the persecuted by visiting

“The COVID pandemic has been used as a justification to exact religious terror. The interconnectivity of technology, in the hands of evil actors, has massive human rights implications for everybody with a smartphone.”

David Curry, President & CEO Open Doors USA

2021 World Watch List Fact Sheet

In the 2021 World Watch List (WWL) reporting period (October 2019 — September 2020):

• More than 340 million Christians suffer high levels of persecution and discrimination for their faith.
• In Open Doors’ World Watch List top 50 alone, 309 million Christians suffer very high or extreme levels.
• That’s one in 8 worldwide, 1 in 6 in Africa, 2 out of 5 in Asia, and 1 in 12 in Latin America.
• COVID-19 acted as a catalyst for religious persecution through relief discrimination, forced conversion, and as justification for increasing surveillance and censorship.
• Extremist attacks opportunistically spread further throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, from Nigeria and Cameroon to Burkina Faso, Mali, and beyond.
• Chinese censorship systems continue to propagate and spread to emerging surveillance states.

Violence Statistics

• 4,761 Christians killed for their faith
• 4,488 Churches or Christian buildings attacked
• 4,277 Christians unjustly arrested, detained or imprisoned
• 1,710 Christians abducted for faith-related reasons

*The total number of Christians killed for their faith rose from 2,983 registered cases (WWL 2020) to 4,761 (WWL 2021). This is an increase of 60 percent. The violent killing of Christians for faith-related reasons was much higher in Africa than in Asia. Ninety-one percent of the killings were in Africa, and 8 percent in Asia.

On average, every day…

• 13 Christians are killed for their faith
• 12 churches or Christians buildings are attacked
• 12 Christians are unjustly arrested, detained or imprisoned
• 5 Christians are abducted for faith-related reasons

Previous World Watch List

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 to mobilize the Western church to pray and 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

About the Author

Author: Steve Patterson

A Christian Blogger that enjoys blogging about the Bible, Theology, God, Jesus Christ, Christian Music, Family, Cats, Odd Holidays, sewing and much more. I have been blogging since 2004, however, I have been blogging on Courageous Christian Father since 2012. I enjoy listening to Christian Music. I am married with 1 daughter, 2 step-sons and a step daughter.

1 thought on “Open Doors’ 2021 World Watch List to Reveal How COVID and Technology Accelerate Spread of Anti-Religious Bigotry

  1. Their plan against religion will not stand, because we all have a “heavenly Father”… its our Lord Jesus Christ! And the most amazing is, that recently, an “atom bomb like” study with hard scientific evidence proves He is real and alive

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