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2021 WORLD WATCH LIST #45

MOZAMBIQUE

 

 

Country rank

45

Persecution score

63.28

Last year’s rank

66

Region

Africa

Persecution Type

Islamic oppression (Strong), Dictatorial paranoia (Medium), Ethno-religious hostility (Medium), Organized corruption and crime (Medium)

Persecution Level

Very High

Population

32,309,000

Christians

17,448,000 (54.0%) Data source: Johnson T M and Zurlo G A, eds., World Christian Database (Leiden/Boston: Brill, accessed February 2020).

Main Religion

Christianity

Government

Presidential republic

Leader

President Filipe Nyusi

In cooperation with local partners and churches, Open Doors supports the church in Burkina Faso through:
• Aid relief
• Training on responding to persecution

ABOUT MOZAMBIQUE

What does persecution look like in Mozambique?

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.   

How women experience persecution

According to local sources, the most common forms of persecution affecting Christian women and girls in the country are sexual harassment, rape—attributed to the incursion of Islamic militants—and forced marriage. Many Muslim families living in Mozambique force suspected female converts to marry a Muslim man to ensure they cannot get involved in Christian activities.  

How men experience persecution

According to country experts, Islamic oppression is the most common source of persecution for Christians in Mozambique. One shared that, “attacks targeting both government and Christian properties have become common in the province where the jihadists are active.” It is reported that Christian men and boys have been killed in these attacks, leaving their families economically crippled.  

What has changed this year?

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 ISIS-affiliated extremists carrying out violent attacks there. 

How can I help Christian in Mozambique

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.  

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

Pray

-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.  

 

A PRAYER FOR MOZAMBIQUE 

Dear Father, it is heart-breaking to read about the jihadist attacks in Mozambique, and it is difficult to think about the 52 young people who lost their lives because they refused to deny You. But it is also a great encouragement to know that these believers stood strong to the end and they are now in Your presence. Lord, please give the church in Mozambique the strength and courage they need in this season to be a light for You—no matter what fiery trials they face. Lord, please let them know that they are not alone, and that the worldwide Church stands with them in Christ. In Your Holy name, Jesus. Amen.