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April 12, 2021
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African Christianity must reflect on why Africa is the most dangerous place to be christian in 2021- Open Doors USA

This report builds on data of actual conflicts that are escalating. But, rather than a questionable glory of identifying itself “a persecuted church,” whatever gains of financial support or international clout may come with that, African Christianity should place greater value on African lives. Interpreting salvation in terms of integral empowerment of the African peoples ought to help it to firmly stand-off every overt or covert influences of imperialist islam, imperialist christendoms, and foreign economic interests, which are manipulating the conflicts in Africa while the ideologues behind them are resting serene in their relatively secure and peaceful homelands in the West, Middle East, Far East, and even within Africa. The diversity of Africa itself demands that African Christianity must necessarily be intercultural, interfaith and ecumenical. Christianity provides more than enough resources for negotiating a peaceful coexistence with religious and denominational ‘others.’

This is according to the 2021 World Watch List Report by Open Doors USA, a christian group dedicated to the support of persecuted christian believers in diverse parts of the world. The details could be alarming. 1 in 6 christians in Africa face persecution. 9 in 10 christians killed for their faith were in Africa. 19 African countries made it in the overall category of the first 50 countries where it is most dangerous to be christian. This is all based on the data of the previous year. The details could also be curious given projections of the exponential expansions that suggest Africa is the future stronghold of Christianity.

In recent times extremist attacks are increasingly spreading in Sub-Saharan Africa with Nigeria, Cameroon, Burkina Faso and Mali hit hardest. Nigeria ranks 9th among worst in persecution of christians leading globally with 3530 confirmed martyrs that constitute 3 out of every 4 martyrs. Nigeria and 6 other African countries featured among the first 10 countries where christians were martyred most. 8 African countries made it among the first 10 countries where christians face the most violence. 6 African countries featured among the first 10 where churches were attacked. Generally, violence against christians in Sub-Saharan Africa increased by 30 percent in relation to the previous years.

The major reason indicated for the persecution of christians in Africa is Islamic oppression. The countries involved include Libya, Nigeria, Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Mozambique and Kenya. There is also Christian denominational protectionism as reason for persecution in Eritrea and Ethiopia.

How should African Christianity receive the above evaluation? It is important for African christians to read this report with a conscious consideration of the wider complex backgrounds to the conflicts and extremist attacks. There is also the more pertinent consideration given the identification of majority of the cases as Islamic oppression. This is the factor of religious hypocrisy: African muslims persecute fellow Africans who they consider infidels, while African christians armed with the claim that only Christianity leads to God target muslims in their proselytic conversion drives.

Read the report: 2021 World Watch List ReportOpen Doors USA

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