Over half of the population of Mozambique is Christian – 17.4 million of the 32.3 million people living there.
Attacks from Islamic extremists and the presence of drug cartels in some areas have all contributed to increasing persecution in northern Mozambique.
Christians face extreme violence in the northern part of the country, where many have been forced to flee their homes. Islamic extremists have looted and destroyed many Christian places of worship, Christian schools and businesses owned by believers. Christian aid workers have also been targeted. Because of this, it is difficult for Christians to gather – either inside or outside of churches – and it can be risky for believers to speak against persecution. In the northern part of the country where Muslims are the majority, converts face extreme pressure to renounce their faith. If they refuse, they will usually be shunned.
Yes – this is the first time that Mozambique has appeared on the World Watch List Top 50. It has jumped 21 places, largely because of the increasing violence faced by believers in more areas of the country. In recent years, attacks by Islamic extremists have claimed the lives of many Christians and radical groups have burned down churches and schools. Tens of thousands of people have fled the northern part of the country. For instance, in an attack in June 2020 on the town of Mocímboa da Praia in Cabo Delgado Province in northern Mozambique, Islamic militants al-Shabaab set fire to a Catholic church, a secondary school, the district hospital and dozens of houses. More than 50 people were killed in a nearby village in April, when young people refused to join the ranks of the jihadis.
This persecution used to be limited to a smaller part of the country, but Mozambique’s army withdrew from important strategic locations in 2020, which meant that persecution has expanded in the past year.
Please keep praying for your brothers and sisters in Mozambique. Your gifts and prayers make an enormous difference to those following Jesus no matter the cost.
Through local partners, Open Doors supports the persecuted church in Mozambique by providing emergency relief, persecution survival training and economic empowerment projects.
Dear Father, it is heart-breaking to read about the jihadist attacks in Mozambique, and it is difficult to think about the 52 young people who lost their lives because they refused to deny You. But it is also a great encouragement to know that these believers stood strong to the end and they are now in Your presence. Lord, please give the church in Mozambique the strength and courage they need in this season to be a light for You – no matter what fiery trials they face. Lord, please let them know that they are not alone, and that the worldwide church stands with them in Christ.
Your support helps persecuted Christians continue to courageously follow Jesus.
Together, we can reach those where persecution hits hardest.