ICC Names Top 10 Christian Persecutors

International Christian Concern has released its annual Hall of Shame Awards this week, listing the world's top ten persecutors of Christians.

The Washington-based human rights group called attention to the growing shift in Christian persecution from countries with Communist governments to Islamic nations.

Iraq, ranked by ICC as the second worst Christian persecutor, was an example of this growing trend. ICC noted that the war in Iraq resulted in unintended pressure on the local Christian community, which has been attacked by militant Muslims.

Recently, a 14-year-old boy near Mosul died in a crucifixion-murder in October and Fr. Paulis Iskander was beheaded in Mosul in the same month. Moreover, in the past two years, 27 churches in Iraq have been attacked or bombed, according to Christian Solidarity International.

The ICC report also highlighted radical Islam in the Horn of Africa. Somalia, whose capital and most of the south was until recently controlled by an Islamic militant group accused of having links to Al-Qaeda, is one such country. The human rights group said the Union of Islamic Courts in Somalia contributed to the rise in violence against Christians in Somalia and Ethiopia.

"Persecution must and can be fought," said ICC's president Jeff King, in a statement Wednesday. "Religious persecution must be named and shamed on an international level."

ICC ranks the world's worst persecutors of Christians as following:

1. North Korea
2. Iraq
3. Ethiopia
4. Saudi Arabia
5. Somalia
6. Iran
7. Eritrea
8. China
9. Vietnam
10. Pakistan