How many Christians are there in Mali?
There are 461,000 Christians in Mali, from a population of 19.7 million. The majority of the people in Mali are Muslim.
Why are Christians persecuted in Mali?
Radical Islamic groups took control of the northern part of the country in 2012, and this saw Mali leap to number 7 on the World Watch List in 2013, having not previously appeared on it. The situation is no longer as dangerous, and Christians have returned to the region under police protection, but they live under the constant threat of attack by Islamic militants.
The violence and hostility experienced by Christians continues to rise, especially targeting those who openly share their faith. Violence has also become more complicated, since believers from ethnic minorities are increasingly victims and it is harder to disentangle religious-based violence from ethnic-based violence (which is one reason why Mali’s place on the World Watch List has fallen slightly).
What’s life like for Christians in Mali?
Believers from a Muslim background are particularly vulnerable to rejection and intimidation from their families. Like Naomi, who had to flee her home in the north and lived in a camp for internally displaced people in Bamako, Mali’s capital. She was there for several years – but your prayers and support meant that Open Doors partners were able to find her a home when the camp closed.
She still faces persecution from her Muslim neighbours and some family members but, wonderfully, in the past year three of her sisters have stopped opposing her and have become Christians themselves! “I never retaliated or drove them out of my home. Instead, I showed them love. The love we showed them has won them over to Christ,” says Naomi.
Many Christian women and girls in Mali are subjected to sexual abuse, forced marriage, under-age marriage, and are denied access to modern education. Christian missionaries are at risk of abduction, and some kidnapped missionaries are still being held hostage.
How can I help Christians in Mali?
Please keep praying for your brothers and sisters in Mali. Your gifts and prayers make an enormous difference to those following Jesus no matter the cost.
Open Doors partners with the local church to serve Christians in Mali by providing Bibles, training for pastors, economic empowerment projects, and care for new believers – including how to prepare for persecution and how to respond to it biblically.
*President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita resigned in August 2020, just hours after armed soldiers seized him from his home in a dramatic power grab following months of protests demanding his removal from the position. He also announced that his government and the National Assembly would be dissolved, to further quell the country’s turmoil amid an eight-year Islamic insurgency and the growing coronavirus pandemic.
“You have been the only family I have known. All thanks to you who gave me hope once more.” Naomi, Mali
Father, please protect Your children in Mali. We pray that our sisters would be safe from forced marriage and sexual violence. We ask that You halt the activities of Islamic militants and show them that You are the only true God.