Syrian Christians have experienced the most intense increase in persecution—the country jumped from No. 36 two years ago to No. 3 in 2014. The Syrian civil war, now almost three years old, has left more than 100,000 people dead, including many Christians caught in the middle of the fight between Bashar al-Assad’s regime and rebel fighters composed largely of radical Muslims [...]
The Central African Republic (CAR), Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh were the only three newcomers to the 2014 list. CAR, another failed state, is a mostly Christian country that has never appeared on the WWL, but rampant persecution—including the murder of at least 13 pastors—at the hands of Muslim extremists catapulted it to No. 16.
A recent UN report puts the Central African Republic in an especially troubling light. According to NBC News, UN officials are now calling the situation “Darfur, plus anarchy.” Readers will remember that Darfur became a genocide, and that there was a loud and sustained public outcry about the violence there. Public discussion about the CAR and other places on the Open Doors list has been restrained by comparison, despite the very real chance that some of these conflicts could spiral into genocide. We hope these new rankings will bring more attention to the issue.