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Christians are facing an alarming rise in persecution, a church group has warned, as it reveals the most dangerous countries in the world to worship the religion.
The international Open Doors organisation has updated its World Watch List of the 50 most dangerous countries to be a Christian.
Concern - Strength - Islamic - Militant - Groups
It expressed concern at the increased strength of Islamic militant groups in countries like Somalia, Libya and Yemen and warned that as extremists were driven out of the Middle East almost 30 fundamentalist groups were relocating to sub-Sharan Africa.
But Syria, where ISIS is close to defeat after eight years of sectarian conflict that has impacted on the country's ancient Christian community, dropped to 11 on the list. Neighbouring Iraq was at number 13.
Group - Nigeria - Pakistan - Levels - Persecution
The group said Nigeria and Pakistan saw the highest levels of violent persecution of Christian.
In Nigeria's Middle Belt region, the report said, decades of climate change, desertification and population growth had fuelled conflict between nomadic Muslim Fulani cattle-herders and Christian farmers.
Murder - Families - Homes - Christians - Attacks
'The murder of entire families in their homes has led many Christians to claim such attacks amount to a campaign of ethno-religious cleansing,' Open Doors said.
In Myanmar, where the international focus is on the plight of Rohingya Muslims, Open Doors said that thousands of members of the mostly Christian Karen minority had been killed and 120,000 displaced.
China - Places - List - Regulations - Affairs
Communist China rose 16 places to 27 on the list after the new Regulations for Religious Affairs came into force in February 2018.
Open Doors said the rules forbid children and youth...
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