Attacks from Islamic extremists and the presence of drug cartels in some areas have all contributed to increasing persecution in Mozambique. Christians face extreme violence in the northern part of the country. Christians have been forced to flee their homes. Islamic extremists have looted and destroyed many Christian places of worship, Christian schools and businesses owned by Christians. Christian aid workers were also targeted. Because of this, it is difficult for Christians to gather—either inside or outside of churches—and it can be risky for believers to speak against persecution. In the northern part of the country where Muslims are the majority, converts face extreme pressure to renounce their faith. If they refuse, they will usually be shunned. In April, a jihadist group with possible ties to Islamic State killed 52 people, burned down churches and institutions and attacked villages. What has changed in Mozambique? Mozambique has entered the top 50 of the World Watch List for the first time. In recent years, attacks by Islamic extremists have claimed the lives of many Christians and radical groups have burned down churches and schools. Tens of thousands of people have fled the northern part of the country. The country’s army withdrew from important strategic locations, so a persecution phenomenon that was limited to a smaller part of the country expanded in the last year. Finally, the presence of drug cartels in some areas makes the lives of Christians difficult—especially for church youth workers. Who is most vulnerable to persecution? Generally, the country has limited religious freedom. However, the persecution of Christians is severest in the northern Cabo Delgado Province due to extremists—who are affiliated with the Islamic State group—carrying out violent attacks there. What does Open Doors do to help Christians in Mozambique? Through local partners, Open Doors has taken up work to strengthen Christians in Mozambique since 2020. Through strategic partnerships with the local church, Open Doors planned to support the persecuted church with training. Due to an increase in violence against Christians in the Cabo Delgado Province, Open Doors delivered relief aid in August 2020. Population statistic: Johnson T M and Zurlo G A, eds., World Christian Database (Leiden/Boston: Brill, accessed February 2020).
Pray for Mozambique
Pray for Christians who lost loved ones and survived the jihadist attacks in Mozambique’s northern region. Ask God to give them comfort, peace and the power to forgive their persecutors.
Pray for more protection and that the current strain of Islamic extremists will be squelched before they grow and expand, potentially causing greater violence and persecution across the nation.
Pray for the Lord to strengthen the Church in Mozambique and to give the Church unity in the face of Islamic extremist threats. Ask God to give them the courage to keep meeting and keep growing in their faith.
Pray for wisdom and discernment for pastors and church leaders, as they shepherd their people and train them to be prepared for any potential persecution—so they will be ready to stand strong.