Afghanistan less safe for Christians

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Afghanistan has become less safe for Christians according to a list ranking the worst countries in terms of persecuting Christians. The list was compiled by the Dutch Christian organisation Open Doors, which monitors the oppression of Christians around the world.

Open Doors says the persecution of the small Christian minority in Afghanistan has got much worse in the past year - moving the war-torn country up into sixth place. According to the organisation, television images showing former Muslims being baptised led to the deterioration of the situation.

The worst place to live for Christians is North Korea which tops the list just as it did in previous years.

All of the countries topping the list, except for North Korea, are Islamic. Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Somalia occupy the second to fifty places.

"Muslim extremists spare nothing and no-one in their battle to get rid of Christians, if they refuse to convert to Islam," says a spokesperson for the organisation.

In North Korea, Christians are persecuted because only the "Great Leader" Kim Il-Sung and the "Beloved Leader" Kim Jong-il are allowed to be revered like gods.

However, the predicament of Christians has improved in some countries. In China the authorities are more relaxed since the 2008 Olympic Games. Here Christians are no longer systematically persecuted, but they may encounter discrimination locally. India has also fallen down the list, because fewer incidents of persecution have been reported that the previous year.




© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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