Stirred up to hate Christians In Niger, religion is understood to be a private matter, but the government’s separation of state and religion is under increasing pressure. Christians are a minority in Niger, where 99 percent of citizens are Muslim. Many Christians are able to live and worship peacefully, but in some areas, radical Muslim clerics stir up animosity toward believers. For instance, Muslim religious leaders of the Izala group, a radical Islamic group originating in northern Nigeria, are active in Niger and threaten freedom of Christians. In border regions under Islamist control, Christians have been hindered from celebrating Christian weddings. Public worship and meetings of Christians have to be conducted with caution in such areas, due to the threat of violence from militant groups. The families of converts from Islam try to make them stop following Jesus by threats or use of force. Other Christians do not face this form of persecution and are generally allowed to practice their faith in private. Christians are not treated equally in the public sector, are rarely able to secure employment within local government services, and are frequently denied promotion. Christians have occasionally been hindered from gathering for meetings and the legal process for the registration of churches is long and difficult. Corruption is a problem in the judiciary; officials who engage in corrupt practices attract negative publicity, but are not adequately prosecuted. This situation harms all of Niger society, including the Christian population. Boko Haram is active in parts of southern Niger and targets Christians, and the actions of Boko Haram in surrounding nations has created a massive humanitarian crisis that has impacted believers. Examples In June 2019, a Protestant church was set on fire by protesters who were protesting the arrest of an imam. In October 2019, a mission school was vandalized by jihadists who operate in the 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 Niger
Pray for women who become doubly vulnerable to persecution after choosing Jesus. Pray for Open Doors’ work to equip the church in Niger to provide sufficient physical and spiritual support to women who are abandoned by their families and communities.
Communal worship and meetings of Christians have to be conducted with caution in some areas due to the threat of violence from militant groups. Pray believers have wisdom and courage to continue meeting for fellowship and grow in their faith in community.
The country is challenged by Islamic radical violence spilling over from Mali, Nigeria and Burkina Faso as well as different kinds of traffickers in the Agadez region. Pray Christians are protected from violent attacks and abductions. Pray the government has wisdom and fights to protect all of Niger’s citizens.
Niger Photo Gallery
Stories from Niger 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 January 22, 2020 Facial recognition technology ushers in new wave of Christian persecution A new wave of Christian persecution led by facial recognition technology is one of four major trends impacting believers today. Read More + READ MORE January 15, 2020 Every day, 8 Christians killed for their decision to follow Jesus In-depth research for Open Doors' 2020 World Watch List shows that at least eight Christians, largely in Sub-Saharan Africa, die at the hands of persecutors (extremists, family members and state authorities) each day. Read More + READ MORE