This problem is compounded by the tribal social structure, which creates a fracturing of society, allowing “Islamic extremism, via groups like al-Shabaab, to flourish in Somalia.”
To gain access to “basic necessities, such as basic social services, education or justice,” the report stated, “Somali Christians have to hide their belief,” with Church life and community existing in secret.
A spike in persecution also occurred in Syria, which accounted for more than half of the total Christian martyrdoms recorded by Open Doors USA in the past year.
Syria was ranked as 36th worst offender on the World Watch List in 2012. Two years later, in 2014, it has risen to become the world's third most dangerous country for Christians.
The report noted that while the government was totalitarian and persecuted some Christians before the country's civil war, the ongoing conflict has given rise to great social instability and militant Islamist groups with ties to al-Qaeda throughout the country.
“As indeed the conflict is becoming more and more sectarian, targeted violence against Christians has increased,” it said. “The sectarian dimension of the conflict is indeed a factor that has made Christians, as a religious/ethnic minority, more vulnerable.”
Since 2011, the “four main groups of Christians” present in Syria have faced great trials, with many leaving to seek refuge in other nations. Because of this, the Christian population in the country has dropped from 1.7 million people one year ago to an estimated 1.3 million today.
Among the other countries on the World Watch List were Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Colombia and China. Added to the list this year were the Central African Republic, Sri Lanka and Bangaldesh.