The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. Tertullian
Open Doors has announced the 2008 top 10 worst places to live as a Christian They are, in order of infamy:
1. North Korea
2. Saudi Arabia
The annual country persecution list ranked North Korea in the No 1 spot for the sixth year in a row.
In North Korea, considered by many the world's most repressive regime, citizens are strictly banned from worshipping any other gods beside those enforced in the state religion — a personality cult revolving around current dictator Kim Jong Il, and his deceased father, Kim Il Sung.
Moreover, Christianity is considered a serious threat to the regime's power and there are many reports of Christians being publicly executed, tortured or imprisoned indefinitely simply because of their faith.
It is estimated that there are up to 400,000 to 500,000 believers secretly practising their faith in North Korea. At least a quarter of the Christians are imprisoned for their faith in political prison camps, from which people rarely get out alive.
In second place is the kingdom of Saudi Arabia where fundamentalist Wahabbi Islam dominates society and oppresses believers. Under the kingdom's strict interpretation of Islamic law, apostasy (conversion to another religion) is punishable by death.
Following close behind in third is Middle East neighbour Iran. Although Christians are officially recognised as a religious minority, believers regularly face discrimination and persecution.
Islam is the predominant religion in six of the top 10 countries: Saudi Arabia, Iran, Maldives, Afghanistan, Yemen and Uzbekistan.
Three of the top 10 countries — North Korea, Laos and China — have communist governments.
Bhutan is the only Buddhist country on the list.