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03/27/2024 Senegal (International Christian Concern) — The coastal country of Senegal in northwest Africa hosted presidential elections this week, marking the transition of power to Bassirou Diomaye Faye of the Pastef party. At 44, Faye is the youngest head of state in Senegal’s history.

Senegal differs from neighboring countries in northwest Africa, where eight coups have occurred since the start of 2020. Freedom House ranks Senegal as “Partly Free,” scoring 67 out of 100 possible points. According to the U.S. International Religious Freedom Report, the constitution of Senegal guarantees religious freedom so far as public order is maintained and government leaders continually emphasize the importance of “tolerance and peaceful coexistence among faith-based communities.” 

The population of Senegal is approximately 97.2% Muslim and 2.7% Christian. Faye is a practicing Muslim and emphasizes the necessity of tolerance and freedom of religion by creating the Pastef political party. 

Alongside fellow politician Ousame Sonko, Faye co-founded the Pastef political party in Senegal in 2014. Highly contested and criticized globally, Pastef labels patriotism, work, ethics, and fraternity as the four principles for which they conduct their activities. Pastef’s description of ethics roughly translates to “The ethical basis of individual behavior can be drawn by anyone from any tradition he or she is attached to, or, in the absence of an axiological framework, from the simple awareness that certain acts are detrimental to the collective interest.” 

Despite the severe minority of Christians in the Senegalese population, the government continues to prioritize religious freedom with few incidents of government-perpetuated persecution. 

The transition of power demonstrated in the most recent election proves valuable for Christians as it marks a West African country furthering efforts in stability, democracy, and humanitarian freedoms. 

We praise God that he has protected many Christians from the catastrophic effects of violence and corruption in the election in Senegal. We pray that the Senegalese government and people will continue prioritizing human rights, specifically freedom of religion. We pray that the new Senegalese society will continue valuing the voice of Christians. We pray for peace over the rule of President Faye.   

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