Last year, the number of Christians martyred for their faith around the globe was nearly double the amount killed in 2012. According to the report from the group Open Doors International, there were 2,123 documented cases of believers killed for their faith in 2013. Other groups recorded a much higher number, noting that many of the murders go unreported.
Each year, Open Doors creates a list of the 50 countries responsible for the worst persecution of Christians, which is then audited by the globally recognized International Institute for Religious Freedom. Here’s a look at where persecution is the worst:
Under the Kim regime, simply owning a Bible can result in a death sentence. Currently, hundreds of thousands of North Koreans are imprisoned.
Along with a weak government—which is often hostile toward Christians—the al-Shabab terrorist organization routinely targets non-Muslims.
The civil war has put the nation’s Christian population in the crossfire of Islamic rebels and the Assad regime. Last year, 1,213 Syrian Christians were killed for their faith.
According to Open Doors, every two to three days, a Christian is abused, killed or kidnapped in this nation, where they are increasingly a minority.
In some parts of Afghanistan, not adhering to Islamic beliefs can be a crime. Many Christians must practice their faith in secret or risk imprisonment.
For Saudi citizens, conversion to a religion other than Islam is punishable by death. For non-Saudis, public Christian worship and evangelism is illegal.