Islamic extremism and the church in Africa

Boko Haram, al-Shabaab – Radical Islam’s other home

Radical Islam is widely known to be active within the Middle East and North Africa. Yet in Nigeria, Islamic extremist group Boko Haram has been labelled the world’s deadliest terror organisation. Compared to the war against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, al-Shabaab’s war in Somalia is virtually unheard of. While we know al-Qaeda works in places like Afghanistan, Australian missionaries Ken and Jocelyn Elliot were kidnapped by al-Qaeda in Burkina Faso.

Islamic extremism is on the rise in Sub-Saharan Africa, yet it remains relatively unknown. Continue reading

The Garissa University attack that killed 147 students – One year on

Today marks one year since the horrific Garissa University attack that killed 147* students in Kenya.

Garissa, Kenya

Garissa, Kenya

Al-Shabaab militants stormed the University campus in Garissa – in Kenya’s volatile east, near the Somali border – and slaughtered mostly Christian students.

The attackers arrived early in the morning, cornered students at morning prayers, killed them. They then roved through the dorms to separate Christians from the remaining students and killing the Christians. A sniper waited outside to kill those who tried to flee. The siege lasted 15 hours.  Continue reading

10 life-changing moments from the persecuted church in 2015

We asked our CEO, Mike, to tell us what has challenged or encouraged him in his faith this year. These were his answers…

1. Indonesia: ‘We will not stop hunting Christians’

Indonesia

We will not stop hunting Christians’ – these have to be some of the most chilling words I heard from last year, words used by extremists after they had burnt this church down. This image really brings to life the reality of persecution in Indonesia. It’s an image that for me really conveys stress, anxiety, pressure and fear.

2. Egypt: 21 Christians killed, Believers respond with love Continue reading

Walk to Water – and support the persecuted church!

In Africa, there are Christian communities that are denied access to daily essentials, such as safe drinking water, healthcare, education and work. For seven years, Open Doors has been running ‘Walk to Water’, an event aimed at raising awareness and funds to strengthen the church in Africa. We do this by providing necessities such as safe drinking water, infrastructure, healthcare, education, vocational training, and micro-loans.

Christians also face the threat of extremist groups, such as Boko Haram and al-Shabaab. Continue reading

Open Doors Interviews the Chairman of Moi University Christian Student’s Union

On April 2nd at least 148 people died in an Al-Shabaab attack at a Garissa University campus. The attackers demanded that each student state their faith, shooting Christians and allowing to Muslims leave. Shortly after the attack took place, Open Doors field workers visited Garissa to encourage the Christians and assess their needs. In Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, Open Doors staff also visited a local morgue to encourage and strengthen the families of those still searching for their loved ones among the victims. Open Doors has since caught up with a number of survivors to encourage them and offer them the support they so desperately need at a time such as this.

Fred

Frederick (Fred) Gitonga, 21-year-old Chairman of the Moi University Christian Students Union, miraculously survived the attack. He spoke to Open Doors about his experience. Continue reading

Kenya: Christians given warning to leave town, not to attend church, or else…

The tense atmosphere in Garissa, Kenya is at bursting point. Even before the verbal warnings to leave the town filtered through yesterday to the Christians and other non-Muslims living there, the news of a massacre in Mandera – of 36 non-Muslim quarry workers on the Somalia-Ethiopia border on Tuesday 2 December – would have been sure to put Christian believers on edge.

Open Doors contacts have been informed that Christians and other non-Muslims have been given verbal warnings to leave the town before Friday 5 December.

“They have been told to vacate their rental houses and move out of the town,” our contacts say. “Some have been issued notices by their landlords and are relocating to Madogo, a small trading centre neighbouring Garissa that is more open to non-Muslims.”

According to sources in the town, non-Muslims have been told what happened in Mandera was ‘mild’ compared to what will happen in Garissa if the threats to leave go un-heard. The Christians have also been warned not to attend church there on Sunday. Continue reading