6 countries where owning a Bible is dangerous

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While as Christians we would never take the Bible for granted, many of us might not often register how fortunate we are just to be able to own our own Bibles or have access to one. In democratic countries, they're easily found in Christian bookshops and high-street book chains, and owning one is not going to land you in jail.

However, this fundamental aspect of religious freedom isn't a reality for many Christians around the world. The American Library Association recently revealed that the Bible is among the most challenged books, with even many Americans calling for it to be banned or removed from libraries.

But, this example of objections to the Bible is mild compared to the many countries where Bibles are forbidden and owning one can lead to detention, prosecution and severe punishments, even potentially loss of life.

Here are five countries where owning a Bible is dangerous. 

North Korea – In this totalitarian state, the only thing that North Koreans are permitted to worship is the nation's leader, Kim Jong-un. Bibles are banned and those found in possession of one face imprisonment, torture and even death – as do up to three generations of their family.

Somalia – Christians residing in Somalia face constant persecution from radical Islamists and government officials. The prevalence of the Islamic extremist group, al-Shabaab means that believers often practise their faith in extreme secrecy and cannot own Bibles.

Maldives – The Maldives have a reputation for being a luxurious idyll but a Bible can get you into trouble in this paradise. Under the country's strict Islamic laws, importing a Bible is forbidden. There is currently no complete translation of the Bible into Dhivehi, the official language of the tropical nation.

Morocco – It's against the law to carry a Bible translated into Arabic in Morocco. Reports of overt Christian persecution are few but Christian children are not given a religious education.

Libya – Like Morocco, Libya has laws against bringing Bibles in the Arabic language into the country. The distribution of Bibles and evangelism is illegal.

Uzbekistan – In this Central Asian dictatorship, high penalties are imposed on those who own Bibles. Authorities are known to detain Christians found in possession of the holy book for "keeping and storing extremist materials with the purpose of further distribution."

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