09/12/2023 Burkina Faso (International Christian Concern) – Burkina Faso has become one of the world’s most dangerous locations to practice Christianity. In a report published by Aid to the Church in Need (CAN), a pontifical and charity foundation, Burkina Faso is amongst the top 13 African countries where Christians are most heavily persecuted.
Despite severe persecution, Christians in Burkina Faso are bravely returning to church. Father Pierre Rouamba of Burkina Faso reflects on the significance of the event; “It is truly striking to note that Christians who had to some extent abandoned religious practice before the crisis are returning to the faith at a time when the terrorists are doing what they can to extinguish Christianity. While the terrorists prevent Christians from gathering in churches, families get together in their homes to rekindle the flame of faith through catechism classes and joint celebrations when there are no priests.”
The CAN report outlines the persecution perpetuated by groups affiliated with al-Qaida and the Islamic State, primarily in the northern and eastern regions of the country. These attacks have led to the death of more than 2,000 civilians and soldiers and have left more than two million people displaced.
Facing multiple coup-d’états in 2022, Burkina Faso has deteriorated from “Partly Free” to “Not Free” in the Freedom House Annual Report. Before the coups, the constitution promoted a secular state, providing for the right of individuals to choose and change their religion and to practice the religion of their choice. Unfortunately, the coups have suspended the constitution, so despite what rights the Burkinabe people may have had previously, there is little guarantee for their religious safety.
The current transitional leader of Burkina Faso, Ibrihim Traore, took office in September 2022 at the age of 34 making him the world’s youngest leader outside of royalty. France 24 reports that “shortly after Traore’s takeover, military prosecutors in December said there had been an attempt to ‘destabilize state institutions.’”
Traore promises to return to democracy through a presidential election in July 2024. While they wait, however, Christians face danger each day. Father Rouamba describes his heartbreaking and powerful situation to the Association for Catholic Information; “For the Christians we accompany, the time perspective does not go beyond the next 24 hours. We do not know if we will survive beyond the next day. This forces us to deepen our personal relationship with Him.”
Join us in praying that the Burkinabe people can practice their faith with fervor and passion without fearing for their lives.
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