Radical Islam drives persecution uptick in African nations

By February 3, 2023

Africa (MNN) — The Islamic State released an infographic this week highlighting its activity worldwide. Africa rose to the top with the deadliest and most frequent attacks.

Summary of ISIS attacks from Al-Naba, Telegram, January 25, 2023.
(Graphic, caption courtesy of Terrorism-Info.org)

When Islamic State terrorists took over parts of Iraq and Syria, jihad led to Christian persecution. It’s no different in Africa.

“We’ve just released the new global prayer guide for 2023, and this year, there are four new countries – all on the continent of Africa,” Todd Nettleton with The Voice of the Martyrs USA says.

“In three countries, it (persecution) is a direct reflection of the rise of radical Islam.”

Persecution rose notably last year in Nigeria, where believers face oppression from Islamist terror groups Boko Haram, the Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP), and Fulani herdsmen. Yesterday, UN Special Adviser Alice Nderitu voiced concern about the “extremely volatile environment” in Nigeria.

Nigeria isn’t the only country struggling to contain extremism. Islamist terrorists may go by different names in other places, but their impact is the same – death and destruction.

In fact, “you can almost draw a line across the continent of Africa where you see that radical Islamic influence is reaching,” Nettleton notes on a recent VOM USA podcast.

“Every year, that line is a little farther south.”

Africa’s new hotspots

The new additions to VOM USA’s prayer map include Benin, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, and Niger. “In Benin, typically, it is more animistic persecution,” Nettleton says.

“But in the other three, [persecution is] directly tied to radical Islam coming against Christians.”

Pope Francis visited DRC this week, delivering messages of peace and meeting with victims of violence. Persecution and rebel conflict in DRC have created the largest displaced population on the African continent and one of the largest worldwide.

Islamist militants tricked Pastor Kanyamada into leaving his home, killed him, and then went inside to kill his wife, Odette. Odette had hidden their children before she was taken, and all four of their children survived. VOM USA has helped provide for the surviving children and their adult caregivers, but they live in an area that still experiences occasional militia violence.
(Photo, caption courtesy of VOM USA)

VOM supports the children of two local missionaries killed for their faith in DRC. In another new persecution hotspot in Mozambique, “we see terrorist activity that has been incredibly violent,” Nettleton says.

“It has displaced hundreds of thousands of people in that region, yet it is underreported in the rest of the world.”

We can’t stop the terrorists or protect the Christians from harm. But we know the One who can. “Pray for our brothers and sisters in Africa who are facing Islamist terrorism. Pray that God will protect them, provide for them, and meet their needs,” Nettleton requests.




Header image depicts believers at a church service in Mozambique. (Photo courtesy of VOM USA)

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