North Korea, for decades, clearly has been the globe’s worst Christian persecutors. However, now, one other nation almost matches it.

Recently, researchers presented their World Watch List for 2018, an annual-basis rank of the fifty countries in which it is most harmful to follow Christ. Today, around 215 M Christians experience extreme, very high, or high persecution levels, meaning that one in twelve Christians reside in an area in which Christianity is punished, forbidden, or illegal, according to researchers from Open Doors.

For sixteen consecutive years, Kim Jung-Un’s country hasn’t moved down from the number one spot on this list. According to sources, with over 50,000 Christians in labor or prison camps, this type of ranking comes as no surprise for its totalitarian regime which controls all aspects of life in North Korea, as well as forces worship of Kim Jung-Un’s family.

However, rivaling it for 2017-2018 is Afghanistan, ranking number two by under one point. North Korea’s overall score was 94 (on a scale of 100 points), that was pushed above Afghanistan’s 93 points by a mere 0.6 difference in their score on violence. Within the additional 5 categories measured—church life, national life, community, family life, and private life—both countries obtained the worst ratings possible.

Where Persecution is the Most Violent

Afghanistan’s neighbor Pakistan, trailing a couple of spots behind at number five, recorded the most violence against followers of Jesus last year. In addition, according to Open Doors, Pakistan scored the highest in forced marriages, abductions, and church attacks.

Also, recently, Pakistan drew the ire of President Trump, who, just last week cut off their military aid over complete frustration with alleged Pakistani aid provided to terrorists inside Afghanistan. That same day, the United States State Department announced the addition of the country to a brand-new “watch list” of governments or entities which ‘tolerate or engage in’ serious violations of religious freedom, but are not considered bad enough to be referred to as a ‘country of particular concern.’

The place in which Boko Haram operates, Nigeria (Number 14), as well as the Central African Republic (Number 35) ranked 2nd and 3rd for violence. The USCIRF recommended that the State Department add the Central African Republic, Nigeria, and Pakistan to its “countries of particular concern” list.

Here’s the top 10, behind NK and Afghanistan: Somalia (Number 3), Sudan (Number 4), Pakistan (Number 5), Eritrea (Number 6), Libya (Number 7), Iraq (Number 8), Yemen (Number 9), and Iran (Number 10).

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