#29 in Christian persecution, Mali

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Mali Facts Score:66/ 100Region:AfricaPersecution Type:Islamic oppressionPersecution Level:Very HighPopulation:19,681,000Christians:461,000Main Religion:IslamGovernment:Semi-presidential republicLeader:President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita Profile of Persecution Violence 82%Church Life 70%National Life 60%Community Life 77%Family Life 49%Private Life 55%

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Increasing Islamic radicalization Last year, northern Mali saw a rise in violent incidents, including attacks and kidnappings. While the majority of Malians traditionally practice a relatively tolerant version of Islam, increasing radicalization continues to pressure and physically harm the lives of Christians and their churches. This radicalization has led to intensifying violence against Christians from jihadist groups, such as Al Qaeda, and from criminal organizations that have allied themselves with radical Islamic rebel groups and target Christians. In the northern region, evangelistic activities are especially risky and could lead to attacks by radical Muslims. With the proliferation of jihadist groups like Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, the vast territory of Mali not under effective government control is becoming a sanctuary for Islamic militants who are a threat to the security of the entire region. Located in one of the hotbed regions for jihadists, the situation in Mali is part of the overall rise of Islamic militancy in the entire region. How Christians are suffering In Mali, Christians are experiencing an increase in violence and hostility, especially those who openly share their faith. Believers from a Muslim background particularly suffer the trauma of rejection and intimidation from their families. Plus, traditional and cultural norms mean that many Christian women and girls are subjected to sexual abuse, forced marriage, under-age marriage, and are denied access to modern education. Christian missionaries operating in Mali live under the constant threat of abduction, and some have been kidnapped by jihadists. Some kidnapped missionaries are still held hostage. Examples In March 2019, more than 100 people were killed in attacks by Islamic militants. Reportedly, most of the victims were Christians. In June 2019, more than 90 people were killed in Sobame Da, a mainly Christian village in central Mali’s Mopti region. Population and number of Christian statistics: Johnson T M and Zurlo G A, eds., World Christian Database (Leiden/Boston: Brill, accessed April 2019).

Pray for Mali

  • Thank the Lord for the presence of the church in Mali. Thank Him that the government allows for freedom of worship and doesn’t try to limit official religious freedom.

  • Instability continues in Mali, and it is affecting the entire region. Pray for peace to be restored in the country. Pray for wisdom and great accountability for the government and its international partners as they work to restore peace.

  • Christians are still affected by Islamic oppression. Evangelistic activities in the north are especially risky and could lead to being attacked by radical Muslims. Christian missionaries operating in Mali also live under the constant threat of abduction, and some have been kidnapped by jihadists. Pray for much grace and courage for the church as they live out their mission in Mali.

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Stories from Mali July 28, 2020 Violence and COVID-19 turn African Christians into ‘endangered species’ A lethal combination of attacks and coronavirus food shortages is crippling the church in Nigeria and throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Read More + READ MORE March 24, 2020 4 widows share their stories of loss & hope in Nigeria + READ MORE March 6, 2020 A ‘living death’: How Christian women experience persecution A new 2020 Open Doors in-depth report focusing on gendered persecution surfaces some disturbing realities for Christian women and girls in the top 50 countries where women are highly persecuted for their decision to follow Jesus. Read More + READ MORE

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