2021 World Watch List

Gary Fallesen

2021 World Watch List

Pray for the 50 countries where it is most difficult to follow Jesus

‘They are trying to crush us’

One country calls it “Islamic oppression” and another “clan oppression.” Either way it adds up to persecution.

In Turkey, our Kingdom worker claims: “They are trying to crush us. They hate us.”

They are the Muslims that Open Doors ministry says are behind the “religious nationalism [that] is very strong and is growing.” So much so Open Doors moved Turkey up to No. 25 from 36 on the World Watch List of persecuted countries.

Pray that the stifling and suspicious atmosphere for Christians in Turkey will change,” Open Doors requests.

In Nepal, our Kingdom worker states that “the government and all the political leaders have planned to stop evangelism and bring persecution for Christians.” But this can be traced to the country’s Hindu roots. This is where “clan oppression” comes into play, according to Open Doors.

“Already they brought a law not allowing (Christians) to share the Good News among people groups,” said our worker, whose country ranks 36th on the World Watch List.

“God called me to expand the kingdom of God in Nepal. Here, it is getting difficult to share the Good News. (However) it never stops evangelism and church-planting movements in Nepal. But we have to be careful and prayerful, too.”

Open Doors agrees, asking that we “pray that Christians in Nepal will have the wisdom to know how to share their faith safely, and the boldness to continue sharing the Gospel.”

We will be praying throughout the year for the 50 countries where it is most difficult to follow Jesus. Watch for updates.

Here are the 50 countries where it is considered most dangerous to be a Christian (boldface are current places C4C is serving):

Extreme Persecution

1. North Korea (#1 last year; source of persecution: communist and post-communist oppression; main religion agnosticism)
2. Afghanistan (#2; clan oppression; Islam)
3. Somalia (#3; clan oppression; Islam)
4. Libya (#4; Islamic oppression; Islam)
5. Pakistan (#5; Islamic oppression; Islam)
6. Eritrea (#6; denominational protectionism; Islam)
7. Yemen (#8; clan oppression; Islam)
8. Iran (#9; Islamic oppression; Islam)
9. Nigeria (#12; Islamic oppression; Islam)
10. India (#10; religious nationalism; Hinduism)
11. Iraq (#15; Islamic oppression; Islam)
12. Syria (#11; Islamic oppression; Islam)

Very High Persecution

13. Sudan (#7; Islamic oppression; Islam)
14. Saudi Arabia (#13; Islamic oppression; Islam)
15. Maldives (#14; Islamic oppression; Islam)
16. Egypt (#16; Islamic oppression; Islam)
17. China (#23; communist and post-communist oppression; agnosticism)
18. Myanmar (#19; religious nationalism; Buddhism)
19. Vietnam (#21; communist and post-communist oppression; Buddhism)
20. Mauritania (#24; Islamic oppression; Islam)
21. Uzbekistan (#18; dictatorial paranoia; Islam)
22. Laos (#20; communist and post-communist oppression; Buddhism)
23. Turkmenistan (#22; dictatorial paranoia; Islam)
24. Algeria (#17; Islamic oppression; Islam)
25. Turkey (#36; Islamic oppression; Islam)
26. Tunisia (#34; Islamic oppression; Islam)
27. Morocco (#26; Islamic oppression; Islam)
28. Mali (#29; Islamic oppression; Islam)
29. Qatar (#27; Islamic oppression; Islam)
30. Colombia (#41; clan oppression; Christianity)
31. Bangladesh (#38; Islamic oppression; Islam)
32. Burkina Faso (28; Islamic oppression; Islam)
33. Tajikistan (#31; dictatorial paranoia; Islam)
34. Nepal (#32; clan oppression; Hinduism)
35. Central Africa Republic (#25; Islamic oppression; Christianity)
36. Ethiopia (#39; denominational protectionism; Christianity)
37. Mexico (unranked; organized crime and corruption; Christianity)
38. Jordan (#33; Islamic oppression; Islam)
39. Brunei (#37; dictatorial paranoia; Islam)
40. Democratic Republic of Congo (unranked; Islamic oppression; Christianity)
41. Kazakhstan (#35; dictatorial paranoia; Islam)
42. Cameroon (48; Islamic oppression; Islam)
43. Bhutan (#45; religious nationalism; Buddhism)
44. Oman (#42; clan oppression; Islam)
45. Mozambique (unranked; Islamic oppression; Christianity)
46. Malaysia (#42; Islamic oppression; Islam)
47. Indonesia (#49; Islamic oppression; Islam)
48. Kuwait (#43; Islamic oppression; Islam)
49. Kenya (#44; Islamic oppression; Christianity)
50. Comoros (unranked; Islamic oppression; Islam)


  • Mexico (No. 37), the Democratic Republic of Congo (40), Mozambique (45), and Comoros (50) joined the list this year, while Sri Lanka (30th last year), Russian Federation (41), United Arab Emirates (45), and Niger (50) were removed.
  • Thirty-five of the 50 countries profess Islam as the main religion (including Pakistan, Turkey, and Indonesia), while seven are Christian majority, four are Buddhist, two are Hindu (India and Nepal), and two are agnostic. Four of the seven Christian countries are facing “Islamic oppression.”

The Word

“If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” – 1 Corinthians 12:26 (ESV)


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