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As Christianity grows in Africa, anti-Christian persecution rises

Despite these facts and ongoing evidence of the persecution of Christians in Africa, the general indifference worldwide to the persecution of Christians continues, and is a scandal of monstrous proportions. There is still no sustained or concerted effort by government authorities or international human rights organizations to stop this persecution. There is no country in the world today of which it can be said that while Christians were once persecuted there, now they live in safety and security.

Please continue to pray that the hearts of world leaders would be softened, and that they would finally be moved to act to end this scourge.

For previous ChristianPersecution.com coverage of the persecution of Christians in Africa and elsewhere, as well as the imminent disappearance of Christianity from some of its ancient strongholds, see here.

“As Christianity grows in Africa, anti-Christian persecution rises,” Crux, December 11, 2019:

YAOUNDÉ, Cameroon – According to a new Pew Research Center report, there are already more Christians in Africa than any other continent. By 2060, six of the top ten countries with the largest Christian populations will be in Africa, up from three in 2015.

But as Christianity grows in Africa, so does the persecution of Christians.

“Christians are increasingly seen as a threat to Muslim-dominated lands and governments,” said Dede Laugesen, the executive director of Save the Persecuted Christians, a U.S. charity.

“Mass territories of uninhabited, ungoverned regions provide easy cover for Islamic terror group activities. Combined with extreme poverty, joblessness and well-established routes for illegal arms dealing and the illicit slave trade, resource-rich African countries north of the equator provide fertile ground for Islamic State fighters fleeing the Middle East and looking for new territories to dominate,” he told Crux.

What follows is Laugesen’s full conversation with Crux.

Crux: Open Doors, which supports persecuted Christians, has said, “In Africa, Christians are in the flames of persecution-and on fire for Jesus.” Is this a fair assessment of what is happening to Christians in Africa?

Laugesen: Christians in Africa are quite literally frontline foot soldiers for faith in Christ. Christianity is growing in Africa faster than anywhere else on the planet. At the same time, persecution is increasing. Romans 5:20 poignantly describes what is happening in Africa today. “Where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more,” said Paul.

How widespread is the phenomenon of Christian persecution on the continent?

Aid to the Church in Need reports that 327 million Christians are persecuted worldwide – a number roughly equal to the current U.S. population – of which some 245 million, according to Open Doors USA, experience heavy persecution in the top 50 countries where it is most dangerous to be a Christian. Fourteen of these countries – 28 percent – are in Africa.

Which regions of Africa are mostly affected?

Terror groups promoting Sharia supremacy are growing, and increasingly coordinating activities across northern Africa and the Sahel. The Lake Chad region encompassing Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon and including Burkina Faso and Mali feature prominently in areas most affected by Islamic extremism.

The Islamic State is increasing activities and influence with already established African terrorists – providing arms and know-how in an aim to establish new territories for conquest and expansion.

Particularly, persecution by Muslim Fulani militants, Boko Haram and the Islamic State of West Africa with signs of coordination between these groups is cause for alarm. But, persecution of Christians in East Africa is also gaining traction where in Somalia, Uganda, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, jihadist groups and anti-government rebels are growing lucrative networks for smuggling which funds their arms and operations.

What factors drive such persecution?

Because Christianity is experiencing its greatest growth in Africa, Christians are increasingly seen as a threat to Muslim-dominated lands and governments. Mass territories of uninhabited, ungoverned regions provide easy cover for Islamic terror group activities.

Combined with extreme poverty, joblessness and well-established routes for illegal arms dealing and the illicit slave trade, resource-rich African countries north of the equator provide fertile ground for Islamic State fighters fleeing the Middle East and are looking for new territories to dominate.

Some reports indicate that the persecution is not only carried out by Islamic extremists, but also by some governments. For instance, Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki was said to “fear Christian evangelism because it could destabilize and disunite the country.” How do you react to that kind of persecution carried out by the state?

State support of extremist groups has been widely alleged in the Fulani-dominated federal government of Nigeria, which seems incapable of, or unwilling to, address increasing mass slaughter of Christians and rampant kidnappings-for-ransom by so-called Fulani herdsmen. The Nigerian government continues to force-feed a false narrative of “farmer versus herder clashes” to the international community, which consistently refuses to acknowledge the religious basis for the violence that those harmed say is the primary and root cause.

In June, Save the Persecuted Christians brought Christians from Nigeria to Washington, D.C. to give testimony to the violence. They asked: “How can these attacks against sleeping communities of helpless, poor, unarmed, mostly Christian farmers be framed as clashes between farmers and herdsmen?”

These witnesses from the mostly Christian Adara chiefdom of Kaduna state, which saw more than 400 mostly women and children killed in multiple well-armed Fulani ambushes in early 2019, said these attacks are a concerted effort to clear the land of Christian farmers. They also said Fulani and Boko Haram activities are supported and encouraged by the federal government of Nigeria and northern state governments committed to the establishment of Sharia – Islam’s oppressive and authoritarian legal code – over the entire land….

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