ICC Publishes 2021 Persecutor of the Year Awards

Comprehensive Report Condemns Oppressive Countries, Entities, and Individuals       

11/17/2021 Washington D.C. – International Christian Concern (ICC) announced its 2021 Persecutor of the Year Awards on Tuesday, Nov. 16, at a press conference in Washington, D.C.

ICC released its detailed findings in a 140-page report on 24 of the world’s worst oppressors of Christians. Nigeria earned ICC’s dubious award in the worst ‘country’ category, the Taliban for worst ‘entity,’ and North Korea Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un for worst ‘individual.’

In this groundbreaking report, ICC staff – including 25 stationed overseas – conducted numerous interviews with victims of persecution and their contacts in the world’s trouble spots. ICC’s 10 analysts in Washington, D.C. provided their expertise to the comprehensive document.

“This was a monumental and historic research project by our staff,” said ICC President Jeff King. “We are making the world aware of the atrocities committed by some of the worst persecutors of Christians. We name the offenders and release this report to give the media, government officials, and public a valuable resource on persecution. We want to share this information and pressure the foreign leaders who are committing these documented crimes.”

The news conference at the Hilton Washington DC Capitol Hill featured remarks from survivors of persecution in North Korea and Nigeria. In addition, Nadine Maenza, Chairwoman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), shared her organization’s support of ICC and joint efforts to fight for religious freedoms. Samuel Brownback, former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, added his pre-recorded congratulations to ICC.

The program also included recordings from Rev. Joseph John Hayab, Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kaduna State; and North Korea defector Kim Seong-min. Persecution survivor Joy Bishara gave her harrowing account of being kidnapped as a schoolgirl by Boko Haram in Nigeria. And survivor Jinhye Jo provided testimony of life under Kim Jong-un in North Korea.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), and U.S. Congressmen Doug Lamborn (R-CO) and James McGovern (D-MA) thanked ICC for its report and worldwide efforts in pre-recorded remarks.

King noted that Nigeria is one of the deadliest places for Christians, as 50,000 to 70,000 have been killed since 2000. Nigeria is home to the infamous Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram, Fulani militants, and conservative Islamic communities. With these groups operating in the country and the government’s complacency, Nigeria earned top prize as worst persecuting country.

In Afghanistan, with the withdrawal of U.S. forces and collapse of the Afghan military in August 2021, the Taliban quickly regained control of the country. The group immediately began searching for the roughly 10,000 Afghan Christians in hiding. Almost all Afghan Christians are converts from Islam and are therefore viewed as apostates under a death sentence. Given the disregard for any religion other than their own, the Taliban earned recognition for worst entity.

In North Korea, successive Kim dynasties have tortured and killed countless individuals viewed as political threats. While most people are familiar with the Kim methodology dealing with political threats, it is less known that the Kims have targeted Christians with a special vehemence. For that reason, Kim Jong-un is the 2021 (dis)honoree for worst individual persecutor.

To access the full report, click here.

For interviews, please contact: [email protected].

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