Mauritania (MNN) — Al Qaeda is taking credit for the murder
of an American Christian aid worker in Mauritania.
Compass Direct and Voice of the Martyrs Canada say tensions are running high
for believers, and some ministry teams have temporarily relocated. A Christian worker in the capital city of
Nouakchott told Compass that following the street assassination of 39-year-old
Christopher Leggett, "Various believers
were arrested. The community of workers is going through very tense moments
because of another threat by al-Qaeda and the lack of security in the country,"
said the source, who requested anonymity.
"Our leaders have asked us to leave
the country for a while, as the government had sent a security force of 10
policemen to guard our home 24 hours a day. Our mobility was limited, and we
left the country under police escort to the airport."
The gunmen assassinated Leggett June 23rd for allegedly spreading Christianity
in the capital city. "It's a very
crowded area, and it was in the morning in the midst of many people," the
Christian worker told Compass. "Apparently they wanted to kidnap him, and
as they were not able, they then shot him three times in the head, and he died.
Chris was sharing the Gospel with a lot of fervor. The fact that the
country is going through a political and social crisis could have contributed
to this crime."
Leggett taught at a center specializing in computer science and
languages in El Kasr, a lower-class neighborhood in Nouakchott. He also directed an aid agency that provided
training in computer skills, sewing and literacy, and he ran a
micro-finance program. Leggett, his wife, Jackie, and their children had lived in
Mauritania for more than six years.
Any citizen who confesses Christ can be charged with
apostasy, punishable by death. There are
no specific laws against converting Muslims in Mauritania. The former
government prohibited evangelism of Muslims through the use of Article 11 of
the Press Act.
However, in April 2006, this Act was effectively suspended by
the transitional government as part of its effort to liberalize the press.
Despite this, the government in practice prohibits involvement in converting
Muslims to Christianity, viewing such activity as a method of undermining
The distribution of materials speaking against Islam or contradicting the teachings of Islam is also prohibited. Bibles are not publicly
available, though some can be found among the 0.2% of the population who are
Pray that Christians in Mauritania would remain steadfast.