The tiny Christian community in Yemen is already suffering greatly for its faith but the situation is rapidly worsening after the outbreak of the Israel-Gaza conflict, Open Doors has warned.
Samuel, a convert who fled Yemen 20 years ago, said that Christians are being made scapegoats for the anger felt by Yemeni Houthi leaders about the Gaza conflict.
Houthis have been in the news recently because of attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea. The Houthis have said they are targeting ships that are heading to Israel or have an Israeli connection.
“With the international situation with Israel, life for Christians in Yemen will become so much harder,” said Samuel.
“It means that people will support the Houthis as heroes. People will tell Houthis who the Christians are to make them happy. Then they will start to punish the Christians to make the people happy.
“For them it will be about defending their faith. They will work together against the Christian faith.
“There is a lot of communication between the sitting government and the Houthi authorities to share what they know about Christians.”
Yemen is ranked number five on the Open Doors World Watch List of the 50 countries where Christians suffer most for their faith.
Christians in Yemen are forced to practise their faith in secret and sadly some of the persecution is even by their own family members.
Samuel left the country after he suffered intense persecution following his conversion to Christianity. He received many death threats and even his own father wanted him to be executed.
He said he knew of one convert in Yemen who was held prisoner by his father, who later killed him.
“There is no way to be open with your faith as a Christian in the country,” said Samuel.
“Your life is at risk. You could be killed. People coming to faith in Yemen understand very well you could lose anything and everything.
“It is very, very dangerous. People die for Christ. It can be at the hand of your family, your neighbours or the police.”