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04/21/2021 Africa (International Christian Concern) – Yesterday, Aid to the Church in Need released its annual Report on Religious Freedom in the World, stating that two thirds of the world’s population live in countries where religious freedom is violated. The report names 26 countries in which religious persecution is deemed most extreme, 12 of which are within the continent of Africa.

In a section of the report titled Africa: A Continent at Risk from Transnational Jihadism, Mark von Riedemann details the southern migration of jihadist terror in the continent:

Battle-hardened Islamist extremists have moved south from the plains of Iraq and Syria to link up with local criminal groups in the Sub-Saharan countries of Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, northern Cameroon, Chad, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia and Mozambique,” the report reads.

Extremist groups target those who do not share their radical interpretation of Islam. They often attack villages and forcefully convert Christians, other religious minorities, and the many Muslims who they feel do not appropriately adhere to the teachings of Muhammed. They kill, kidnap, and torture their victims to instill fear and control over the public, including military soldiers that often flee upon their arrival. They brainwash the young and take advantage of the vulnerable, tapping into the disappointments faced while growing up in areas of instability. They promise opportunity, a place to belong, money, and a brighter future to a generation frustrated by the grip of poverty and cheated by government corruption.

If unstopped, the rapid expansion of extreme Islamic ideology is likely to continue. If the rest of the world continues to turn a blind eye to the devastations occurring in Africa, the problem may become too large to ignore.

“The question facing Africa is not whether the continent is the next battleground against Islamist militants, but rather when will sufficient lives be lost and families displaced to move the international community to action?” Asks Riedemann, “Already the numbers are in the hundreds of thousands, and millions, respectively.”  

Please pray for the end of Islamic extremism. Pray for those who engage in horrendous crimes against humanity, that they will experience the love of Jesus and be guided from darkness to light. Please pray for the Lord to protect and strengthen the persecuted church, and to provide healing to all of those affected by violence.

For interviews, please contact Alison Garcia at press@persecution.org