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

Vision of Christ Crying for Sinners Saves Muslim Girl in Africa

In the Horn of Africa, the number of Muslim Background Believers (MBBs) has increased radically despite the high cost conversion. Recently Open Doors workers met with several MBBs, including 20 year old Hawa. 

Hawa* from the Horn of Africa.

Hawa* from the Horn of Africa.

Continue reading

Muslim Imam comes to faith in Jesus

Street scene in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Street scene in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, part of the Horn of Africa. The Horn of Africa region includes Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia.

Awel* is a tall, thin man. His lanky body clad in a bright red sarong, a well-worn shirt and a jacket fraying at the seams. But he is full of joy and greeted visitors on a recent trip loudly, with the only English word he knew.

Pointing a bony finger to the sky he burst out, “Jesus!” 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

World Watch List Map

World Watch List: North Korea, Iraq and Syria among Top 10 hardest places to be a Christian…

One important part of our ministry over many recent years has been the annual Open Doors World Watch List. Since 2003, through research conducted by contacts and leaders in the field, Open Doors have ranked the top 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.

Although Open Doors and our supporters have been aware of the suffering faced by Christians for many decades, the past 12 months particularly, have seen a wave of persecution directed at Christian communities making international headlines:

  • The Islamic State sweeping across Iraq and the civil war in Syria seeing scores killed and displacing hundreds of thousands of people.
  • The April kidnapping of more than 250 girls from the predominately Christian village of Chibok in Nigeria.
  • The imprisonment of Christian Meriam Ibrahim in Sudan.
  • The brutal November murder of Christian couple Shama Bibi and Shehzad Masih in Pakistan – the list goes on and on.

2015 World Watch List

The Top 10 countries where Christians face the most pressure and violence in 2015 are 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