Since the beginning of the Syrian Civil war in 2011 there has been a rapid increase in the number of Christians killed for their faith. Documented reports of martyrdom have increased twofold in the last year alone, CBS reports.
Open Doors International, a group that serves persecuted Christians in high-risk places, said that it has documented 2,123 martyrs killed in 2013 — 1,213 in Syria alone — compared with 1,201 in 2012.
“This is a very minimal count based on what has been reported in the media and we can confirm,” Frans Veerman, head of research for Open Doors International, said. Other groups estimate that there were 8,000 martyrs in 2013.
“Islamist extremism is the worst persecutor of the worldwide church,” Open Doors said in its report, and radical Muslims were the main persecutors of Christians in 36 of the 50 most dangerous countries for Christians that the group listed. Christians face the greatest persecution in North Korea, Syria, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Egypt.