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2021 WORLD WATCH LIST #50

COMOROS

Country rank

50

Persecution score

62.27

Last year’s rank

54

Region

Africa

Persecution Type

Clan oppression (Strong), Islamic oppression (Strong), Dictatorial paranoia (Medium)

Persecution Level

Very High

Population

870,000

Christians

4,200 (0.5%) Data source: Johnson T M and Zurlo G A, eds., World Christian Database (Leiden/Boston: Brill, accessed February 2020).

Main Religion

Islam

Government

Federal Presidential Republic

Leader

President Azali Assoumani

Open Doors supports the persecuted church in Arabian Peninsula through:
• Prayer support

ABOUT UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

What does persecution look like in Comoros?

Christians in Comoros are not able to share their faith freely in public. If they do, they face legal consequences. In some parts of the country, extremist groups threaten Christians with violence. Proselytization by any religion except Islam is illegal, and converts to Christianity can be prosecuted. Converts from a Muslim background face the most severe difficulties. They are often pressured to keep their faith private—leaving them no option but to live out their faith in secret.   

How women experience persecution

Many Comorian families traditionally have matrilineal inheritance, giving women a good deal of influence in the home that can often serve as a buffer against persecution. However, female converts from Islam experience serious difficulties due to their conversion, more so than men.  

Women and girls who convert to Christianity before they have received their inheritance face the danger of being disinherited for their faith. If they are disinherited, they face a financial disadvantage, often leading to poverty and distress. In addition to being shunned, there is the possibility that they will be forced into marrying a Muslim to pressure them to return to Islam.  

However, a married woman who converts will remain responsible for the upbringing of her children, and she still has the opportunity to pass on Christian teaching to her children.  

How men experience persecution

Male converts in Comoros are often dependent upon their families and lack independence. Comoros is a matriarchal society in which the cultural norm is for a married man to move in with his in-laws. In this situation, the family can exert a great deal of pressure upon a convert to return to Islam. They are often denied equal treatment in the home, verbally abused, and in some cases, denied food. Often, a Muslim’s wife’s family will pressure her to divorce her Christian husband and then make him leave their home.  

 What has changed this year?

Why did Comoros enter the top 50?

The situation for Christians in Comoros has changed very little in recent years. While the country is making progress in stability and democracy, there is still a rise of radical Islamic sympathies among the population at large. However, the country has greatly improved from the 1990s when it spent several years ranked in the top 20 on the World Watch list. This year’s re-entry to top 50 is due to the government’s pressure on all religious groups except Sunni Islam. The government believes the freedom of religion in the constitution is for foreigners, not for Comorians. That means converts have to hide their faith. The public stance of the government also gives locals a license to pressure and persecute Christians. 

Who is most vulnerable to persecution?

Persecution is common in all Christian communities in Comoros. However, the level of persecution that Christians from a Muslim background experience is much more extreme than the levels other groups face.   

How can I help Christians in Comoros

What does Open Doors do to help Christians in Comoros?

Through local partnerships, Open Doors has come alongside Christians in Comoros since the 1990s. Through strategic partnerships with the local church, Open Doors supports and equips the persecuted church with economic development through in-depth training, leadership development, cross-cultural evangelism and care for new believers.  

Your gift today will show our persecuted brothers and sisters in Comoros, and other countries in the World Watch List they are loved and remembered by you.

Pray

-Pray for Christians in Comoros to be faithful and fruitful in their work, keeping in mind Colossians 3:23-24: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” 

-Pray for Christians in Comoros to live joyfully and blamelessly, so that others will ask them about their lives and open a door for the gospel.  

-Pray for Christians who left Islam to follow Jesus. Ask God to give them wisdom, courage and support—so they know they are never alone. 

-Pray that the Lord will use the programs of Open Doors to bring support and hope to Christians in Comoros. Pray that these believers will be a testimony to the Lord’s grace and encourage many to come to Him in faith. 

 

A PRAYER FOR COMOROS 

Lord, please strengthen the small community of Christians in Comoros—and add to their numbers. Give them the peace, hope and tenacity they need to follow You in the face of persecution. We pray for Christians who are walking alone, carrying their faith as a secret, to be lifted up and to persevere in the trials of isolation and lack of community. Let them feel the prayers of the worldwide Church and be encouraged to pursue You with their whole hearts and minds. In Jesus’ name we ask this, in full confidence in You, Lord, Amen.