North Korea has topped the charts as the number one persecutor of Christians for a tenth consecutive year, according to Open Doors U.S.A.
The remaining nine positions on the Open Doors top 10 list are all taken up by Muslim countries. U.S. allies Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia are second and third, followed by Somalia and Iran.
Islam's persecution and discrimination against Christians is widespread, with 38 of the top 50 persecutor countries being Muslim nations.
"I was told by an Egyptian brother who was with me just last week: 'The situation for Christians in Egypt and all of North Africa is not an 'Arab Spring' at all, but a 'cold winter' of threat and increased persecution,'" Open Doors USA President Carl Moeller told Mission Network News.
"The pressure on the church is causing, literally, hundreds of thousands of Christians every year to flee these countries," he said. "That will devastate the Christian populations in the Middle East."
Moeller said that the news is not all bad, noting that an increasing number of Muslims "are turning to faith in Christ."
"So, we see both things happening: the visible church being incredibly pressured and many Christians fleeing the region, and also the growth of Muslim-background believer churches and cell groups despite the persecution," he said.