Event highlighting Christian persecution sees MPs turn out in force

More than 80 MPs attended a Parliamentary event highlighting the extent of Christian persecution around the world.

The 2018 World Watch List from Christian charity Open Doors, which monitors countries where religious persecution is at its worst, found that the overall level of persecution has risen for the fifth year in a row.

The report states that approximately 215 million Christians “experience high, very high or extreme persecution for following Jesus”.


MPs and Peers from across the political spectrum attended the Parliamentary launch on Wednesday, including politicians from the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the SNP and the DUP.

Labour MP Stephen Timms said that religious freedom is “very important” and also emphasised his “great deal of empathy for those who are persecuted”.

Conservative MP Robert Courts added that “it is devastating that so many people all over the world are persecuted” for their faith”.


According to the report, persecution significantly worsened in Egypt, India and Turkey.

Lisa Pearce, CEO of Open Doors UK and Ireland, said: “Christians in Egypt face a barrage of discrimination and intimidation yet they refuse to give up their faith.

“It is hard for us here in the UK and Ireland to imagine being defined by our religion every single day in every sphere of life. In Egypt, as in many other Middle Eastern countries, your religion is stated on your identity card.

“This makes discrimination and persecution easy – you are overlooked for jobs, planning permits are hard to obtain and you are a target when you go to church.”

North Korea

North Korea was once again top of the list, followed by Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan and Pakistan.

Open Doors said Islamic extremism “continues to strangle the expression of the Christian faith, fuelling persecution in eight out of the top ten countries”.

The charity added: “North Korea remains the most dangerous place in the world to be a Christian. Believers are forced to worship in secret – if they are discovered they are taken to labour camps.

“An estimated 70,000 Christians are believed to be in these camps.”

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