PRAYER ALERT: Open Doors recently released its 2014 World Watch list of nations most oppressive toward practicing Christians. In 37 of these 50 nations, and 9 of the top 10, the main perpetrators are Muslims. Perhaps the most disturbing trend is the climb of African nations in these ranks. For example, Somalia, where jihadist factions cripple the government and terrorize Christians, rose from #5 to #2. The powerful al Qaeda branch in Somalia, al Shabaab, has vowed to rid the nation of Christians. Sudan rose from #12 to #11. Since mostly Christian South Sudan broke away from it in 2011, believers in Sudan have faced increasing Muslim militant attacks on their churches, schools, hospitals and villages.
Egypt, where the deposed Muslim Brotherhood wreaks vengeance against a vulnerable Christian minority, rose from #25 to #22. Egypt’s new draft constitution, approved by more than 90% of the voters at latest count, promises to change that. It would ban political parties based on religion such as the MB. It would protect the status of Christians, who have been subject to increasing church burnings by the MB. But the government’s suppression of the MB in favor of military-dominated rule may spark more reprisals against Christians. The main mover behind the constitution, the highly popular front-runner for president General Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, is a relatively unknown quantity. One great cause for concern: el-Sissi told the media he had a dream of himself brandishing a sword inscribed with an Islamic statement of faith. Will he support new Islam advances in Africa?
Libya, where rival militias vie for control in a post-Gaddhafi state of anarchy, rose from #17 to #13 among nations persecuting Christians. A recent US Senate report on the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on Benghazi consulate shows that the State Department failed to act on warnings about these militias. Ambassador Chris Stevens, who was killed with 3 other Americans in the attack, chose to rely for protection on local security forces. But they have proved powerless to stop the militias, which carry out bombings and assassinations almost daily.
Since Gaddhafi was toppled, Christians have been subject to attack, arrest and arbitrary execution by Islamic militias. Many have been forced to convert to Islam. In December the General National Congress made Shariah the source of all institutions and legislation. Shariah would further legitimize the militias’ persecution of Christians.
The Central African Republic (CAR) vaulted from unlisted to #16 on the World Watch list of 50 persecutors. In March 2013 the rebel Muslim Seleka coalition stormed the capital Bangui and took over the government. Violence against Christians suddenly escalated. For defense Christian neighborhoods hired militias which quickly got out of control. They started targeting all Muslims regardless of their ties to Seleka. The nation descended into civil war, forcing hundreds of thousands of Christians to flee into nearby countries. In November the UN warned that the CAR was spiraling into genocide and “complete chaos.” In January both the president and the prime minister resigned, leaving an interim government that is struggling to restore a semblance of order. Despite its large Christian majority, the CAR is vulnerable to more Islam advances in Africa.
Nigeria dropped from #13 to #14 on the list. Yet like the CAR, Nigeria remains under constant attack from Muslims in its northern regions. So do many other countries in the center of the continent as Islam advances in Africa.
READ MORE & see how to pray about this issue in Nigeria gay ban trumps massacres of Christians
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