Christian Martyrs Double in 2013

From Ed Morrissey at

Hot Air readers ranked the global persecution of Christians as the second-most important under-reported story of 2013, and new data from Open Doors bolsters that case. CBS notes the report of deaths from the persecution of Christians have doubled over 2012, mainly because of the war in Syria. However, another country still takes top honors in that regard:

Reported cases of Christians killed for their faith around the world doubled in 2013 from the year before, with Syria accounting for more than the whole global total in 2012, according to an annual survey.

Open Doors, a non-denominational group supporting persecuted Christians worldwide, said on Wednesday it had documented 2,123 “martyr” killings, compared with 1,201 in 2012. There were 1,213 such deaths in Syria alone last year, it said.

“This is a very minimal count based on what has been reported in the media and we can confirm,” said Frans Veerman, head of research for Open Doors. Estimates by other Christian groups put the annual figure as high as 8,000.

The Open Doors report placed North Korea at the top of its list of 50 most dangerous countries for Christians, a position it has held since the annual survey began 12 years ago. Somalia, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan were the next four in line.

Open Doors considers Islamist extremism as “the worst persecutor of the worldwide church,” but it’s not the only one, as North Korea’s position indicates. This is particularly noteworthy today, because Pyongyang refuses to release an American who ran an approved tour company, apparently got too free with his faith for the Stalinist regime. Kenneth Bae hasn’t even been publicly charged, but he’s not going anywhere either, despite mounting health issues.

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