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Jul
29

 Children come out after visiting the St John Cathedral Church illuminated with lights ahead of Christmas celebrations in Peshawar. PHOTO: REUTERS

Children come out after visiting the St John Cathedral Church illuminated with lights ahead of Christmas celebrations in Peshawar. PHOTO: REUTERS

Pakistan is ranked sixth on the list of countries where Christians are most persecuted, according to World Watch List 2016.

The survey, conducted by Open Doors, an organisation working to help persecuted Christians and churches worldwide, highlights the top 50 countries where it is most difficult to live as a Christian. The report found that Pakistan’s blasphemy laws continue to be abused to settle personal scores, particularly against minorities, including Christians.

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“A pregnant woman and her husband were thrown into the kiln where they worked and burned to death after being accused of blasphemy, orphaning their four children. Two churches in Lahore were bombed, killing 25 people and wounding dozens. An estimated 700 Christian girls and women are abducted every year, and often then raped and forcibly married to Muslims,” the report adds.

Map: Open Doors

The list ranks North Korea as the most oppressive place in the world to live as a Christian. It adds that in 2015, persecution grew most rapidly in sub-Saharan Africa, while in the Middle East, Islamic State violence increased the migration of the Christian population from the region.

The index measures the degrees of freedom that Christians have to express their faith in six spheres – private, family, community, national and church life, while also measuring levels of violence.

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The full rankings of the levels of persecution are as follows:

Extreme

North Korea

Iraq

Eritrea

Afghanistan

Syria

Pakistan

Somalia

Sudan

Iran

Very high

Libya

Yemen

Nigeria

Maldives

Saudi Arabia

Uzbekistan

Kenya

India

Ethiopia

Turkmenistan

Vietnam

Qatar

Egypt

Myanmar

Palestinian Territories

Brunei

High

Central African Republic

Jordan

Djibouti

Laos

Malaysia

Tajikistan

Tunisia

China

Azerbaijan

Bangladesh

Tanzania

Algeria

Bhutan

Comoros

Mexico

Kuwait

Kazakhstan

Indonesia

Mali

Turkey

Colombia

United Arab Emirates

Bahrain

Niger

Oman

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