Targeted in northern Cameroon
Though Cameroon is majority Christian, the country is divided—in parts of northern Cameroon that are dominated by Islam, Christians are a distinct minority. For believers here, converting from Islam to Christianity can carry significant risks from family and community. There have been cases of Christian children being forced by non-Christian relatives to attend Islamic classes. Women who convert to Christianity can be coerced into marriage with non-Christians, and face the danger of abduction.
Additionally, northern Cameroon lies in an area subject to Boko Haram violence. The Islamic extremist group carries out periodic attacks in the region, targeting Christians and other minority groups. Church activities have been hindered or disturbed in these areas. Due to the displacement of people, churches have not been able to function normally in those parts of the country. In predominantly Muslim parts of the country, radicalization is setting in. In other areas, government security injunctions have set heavy restrictions on church activities.
Cameroon was not on the 2019 World Watch List. But a combination of factors pushed the country into the top 50 this year. Boko Haram’s attacks along with government interference—the country is essentially a dictatorship—mean the restrictions and threats for Christians are growing. There is also significant corruption in the country.
How Christians are suffering
Muslims in Cameroon are severely hindered if they want to convert to Christianity, and in predominantly Muslim parts of the country, there has been a process of radicalization. Converts from Islam are threatened when Bibles or other Christian literature is found in their possession. Converts are not free to express their faith or Christian opinions, be it to immediate family members or others, since doing so exposes them to grave risk. Christians with a Muslim background in the northern part of the country face additional difficulties; for instance, there have been cases of Christian children in the north being forced by non-Christian relatives to attend Islamic classes.
Many Christians with a Muslim background face problems with local communities in remote areas in the northern regions. Female converts are coerced into marriage with non-Christians and face the danger of abduction by Boko Haram.
In October 2019, aBible translatorwas murdered by suspected Islamic militants in his home in the Wum region. This was the second Bible translator to be attacked and killed within two months.
On July 29, 2019, according to other sources and Christian charityBarnabas Fund, Boko Haram militants cut off the ears of at least three Christian women after snatching them from their homes during a night-time raid on a mainly Christian town in the far north of Cameroon.
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 Cameroon
Boko Haram’s Islamic insurgency poses a constant threat to the life and security of Christians and has caused the displacement of many Christians from the northern part of the country. Pray for wisdom and good accountability on the side of the armed forces as they work to protect civilians.
Female converts from Islam can be coerced into marriage with non-Christians and face the danger of abduction by Boko Haram. Pray these sisters are protected and cherished.
Muslims are severely hindered if they want to convert to Christianity, and in predominantly Muslim parts of the country there has been a process of radicalization. Pray Muslims have the courage to respond to the prompt of the Holy Spirit drawing them to Christ.
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