An annual survey indicates that the number 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, the Independent Catholic News website reports today (January 10, 2014).
Open Doors -- a non-denominational group supporting persecuted Christians worldwide -- said 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. Other Christian groups estimate 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. Somalia, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan were the next four in line. The United States-based group said, "Islamist extremism is the worst persecutor of the worldwide church."