Christians in Mozambique face a number of challenges that significantly endanger their freedom and well-being.
The rise of Islamic extremism in the north of the country, especially in regions like Cabo Delgado, has had a devastating impact on the lives of believers. Churches have been burnt down, pastors abducted, and many killed. The objective of these groups is to establish a strict Islamic state, and Christians are often targeted as symbols of resistance to this extremist ideology.
In addition, Christians are often caught in the crossfire of the ongoing conflict between government forces and jihadist groups, making them even more vulnerable to violence and displacement.
Mozambique has also become a major hub for drug trafficking, with the presence of cartels contributing to a climate of lawlessness and violence, which indirectly affects the Christian community. Church youth workers are particularly at risk, as they are often seen as threats to the cartels.
The government also restricts religious freedom and within families and society, believers can face hostility, particularly converts from Islam.
Christians are most vulnerable in the northern Cabo Delgado province, where Islamic militants are particularly active, but attacks have occurred even outside this region.
“Thanks to your support, we feel like the body of Christ is helping us, fellow Christians. But there is more, when Christians from abroad give help to people here, the Muslim people with whom I am sharing the Gospel, can see that there is true love among Christians.”Pastor Paulo, pastoring in an IDP camp in Cabo Delgado
Though the level of jihadist violence did go down slightly during this World Watch List reporting period, the level of fear among Christians is on the rise due to the increasing influence of the Islamist group al-Sunnah wa Jama'ah (ASWJ), particularly in the northern regions of Mozambique. There have been fears that the jihadists would expand into provinces outside Cabo Delgado. Beyond military operations, the government is not taking meaningful policy actions to address the root causes of the conflict and to tackle the growing influence of the jihadist group.
Without a more comprehensive strategy, the threat posed by the Islamist group may escalate, leading to more challenges in ensuring stability and security in Mozambique.
Open Doors supports persecuted Christians in northern Mozambique by providing emergency aid, persecution survival training, and economic empowerment projects.
Lord Jesus, we remember our brothers and sisters in Mozambique who have suffered attacks by Islamic extremists. Surround them with Your comfort and breathe fresh hope into their hearts. Protect Your people in this land and frustrate the plans of militant groups. We pray for greater security and stronger governance in the country, leading to increased protection and freedom for all people, including our persecuted family. Equip Your people with the boldness, wisdom and strength to withstand opposition and be salt and light in their communities. Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on Your people in Mozambique. Amen.