Afghanistan

It is illegal to be anything other than a Muslim in Afghanistan, a tribal society where leaving Islam is seen as a betrayal of the tribe. Christians who are discovered may be sent to a psychiatric hospital, on the grounds that no sane person would leave Islam. Baptism is a . . . Read More

Algeria

The family is the source of greatest pressure for Christians in Algeria, most of whom are converts from Muslim backgrounds. Pressure also comes from the law. A 2006 law, forbidding public assembly for purposes of practising a faith other than Islam, has created a more restrictive environment for Christians. This . . . Read More

Argentina

Argentina is a federal republic with a government structure similar to many Western democracies, but with a turbulent history of episodic military rule and brutal repression of leftist movements. The population is overwhelmingly Catholic, but evangelical communities are growing and a 2015 law gives non-Catholic groups many of the same . . . Read More

Azerbaijan

Open Doors describes the oil-rich former Soviet republic as “the country with the most sophisticated and intelligent dictatorship.” Religious freedom is enshrined in the constitution, but constrained by the regular tightening of policies and regulations governing religious activity. Successive rounds of re-registration have diminished the number of qualified Baptist Union . . . Read More

Bahrain

The tiny, mainly Shia country is relatively tolerant and the constitution provides for religious freedom. A large number of expatriate Christians work and live in Bahrain and are relatively free to practise their faith in private, but evangelising Muslims is illegal. Still, Christians from a Muslim background face pressure from . . . Read More

Bangladesh

As the threat of militant Islam grows in Bangladesh, so do the violent attacks on Christians. Four Christians are known to have been murdered in 2016 amidst a string of killings of religious minorities, secularists and political activists by Islamist militants – some with links to the so-called Islamic State.  . . . Read More

Belarus

The constitution of Belarus guarantees religious freedom, but reality is different. Although there is no state church, the Belarus Orthodox Church has privileged status. There is a sizable Catholic minority, but Protestant denominations endure government pressure because of perceived links to the West. Legislation makes it difficult for “non-traditional” denominations, . . . Read More

Bhutan

Pressure on Christians has increased significantly in Bhutan, both from the government and society. Though a secular state, constitutionally Bhutan’s “spiritual heritage” is Buddhist. Christians lack any formal status and recognition – many do not have National ID Cards. Christians have been arrested for distributing religious scriptures or inviting people . . . Read More

Bolivia

Land-locked and poor, Bolivia has the largest indigenous population in Latin America. Like many other constitutionally secular countries that promise religious freedom, Bolivia’s underlying laws and regulations restrict church activity. A new constitution in 2008 eliminated the Roman Catholic Church’s official preferential standing in the country. The subsequent church-registration law, . . . Read More

Brunei

As Brunei’s sultan, Hassanal Bolkiah, encourages Islamisation throughout society, pressure on Christians increases. The first stage of Sharia, or Islamic law, is in effect in Brunei, and attendance at Muslim prayers is mandatory for all, including converts to Christianity. A fatwa bans the construction or renovation of buildings used for . . . Read More