#4 in Christian persecution, Yemen


SCORE

88.26

REGION

Middle East

PERSECUTION TYPE

Islamic oppression

RELIGION

Islam

PERSECUTION LEVEL

Extreme

POPULATION

30,911,000

CHRISTIAN

A few thousand

GOVERNMENT

Transitional

LEADER

President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi

PROFILE OF PERSECUTION

Violence 5.2/16.7

Church Life 16.7/16.7

National Life 16.7/16.7

Community Life 16.5/16.7

Family Life 16.6/16.7

Private Life 16.7/16.7

How the scoring worksDownload country dossier with in-depth research

What does persecution look like in Yemen?

Yemeni Christians mostly are converts from Islam who must live out their faith in secret because conversion from Islam to Christianity is forbidden both in Islam and in Yemeni law. Christian converts are pressured by both the government and from their communities to recant their faith in Jesus. They might be arrested or interrogated for their faith, and face threats from both family and Islamic extremists who threaten apostates with death. Yemeni culture is extremely tribal, and often the tribal punishment for denouncing Islam can be death or banishment. Both male and female converts to Christianity who are married to Muslims risk divorce—and may lose custody of their children. Yemen is home to one of the greatest humanitarian crises in the world, and all Yemenis suffer—but Yemeni Christians are additionally vulnerable, since emergency relief is mostly distributed through local Muslim leaders and local mosques. These groups have been accused of discriminating against anyone who is not considered to be a devout Muslim.

Meet “Naser”

“We, the believers, carry hope that helps us with the certainty that tomorrow will be better and that by the will of our Lord, we will pass through this and all the anxieties and fears surrounding us.”

What has changed this year?

The persecution against Christians in Yemen has continued to be extreme for years, and its risen two spots on the 2022 World Watch List from last years List. Pressure on converts from Islam is at the highest levels in every part of life. Christians in Yemen continue to face physical and mental abuse, sexual harassment and rape, as well as forced marriages and expulsion for faith-related reasons. Additionally, the presence of Islamic extremist groups—and the continuing destabilization of the COVID-19 pandemic and the civil war—has made daily life a struggle for most of Yemens Christians.

Who is most vulnerable to persecution?

Life is dangerous for all Christians in Yemen. But some believers in certain areas are at particular risk, such as Christians living in the south, where there is a strong al-Qaeda presence. Converts from Islam to Christianity have also indicated that there is more pressure in the Shiite Muslim-controlled areas in the west than in areas under control of the Sunni government. The Shiite-controlled areas—which comprise approximately one-third of Yemens territory—are heavily policed: any dissenting opinion is rigorously repressed and likely to lead to imprisonment, torture and possibly worse.

What does Open Doors do to help?

Open Doors supports the Body of Christ around the Arabian Peninsula through prayer, the distribution of biblical resources and the training of believers and pastors. To protect the people involved, we do not make detailed information on these programs public.

Christian population statistic is an Open Doors’ estimate

Pray for Yemen

  • Pray for the Yemeni people and the Yemeni government. The civil war has lasted for nearly a decade, and the brutality and the humanitarian crisis it has caused have only grown worse due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Pray for peace, pray for stability and pray for an openness to letting all Yemenis, regardless of religion, live their lives in peace and hope.

  • Pray for the secret Christians in Yemen who live under constant threat because of their faith. Ask God to give them courage, wisdom and boldness, that they would know how to best live out the gospel. Ask Jesus to bring comfort and hope to Christians in this war-torn country.

  • Yemeni people can now find out more about Jesus via television, radio and the internet. Pray for all people in Yemen who are secretly searching for truth. Pray that they will find the right channels to learn about Jesus and pray that they will become followers of Him.

Stories from Yemen

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