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cross 3080144 640Unsurprisingly North Korea has claimed the No. 1 spot on the 2018 Open Doors World Watch List -- an annual ranking of the 50 countries where Christians face the most persecution."With more than 50,000 people in prison or labor camps, such a ranking is little surprise for the totalitarian regime that controls every aspect of life in the country and forces worship of the Kim family," says Open Doors.

Its new report, however, reveals an alarming trend as countries driven by Islamic extremism, such as Afghanistan (No. 2), reach persecution levels rivaling those in North Korea. Of the 50 countries on the Open Doors World Watch List, 30 saw an increase in persecution during the reporting period.

Ecumenical News - Incidents of violence related to persecution of Christians rose sharply in 2017, says Open Doors