Brunei

World watch ranking: 39
Map thumbnail
Leader
Sultan and Prime Minister Sir Hassanal Bolkiah

Christian Population
52,000 (11.7%)

Persecution Type
  • Dictatorial paranoia
  • Islamic oppression

How many Christians are there in Brunei?

There are 52,000 Christians in Brunei. They make up 11.7 per cent of the population.

What does persecution look like in Brunei?

In Brunei, leaving Islam for another religion is illegal—so converts from Islam who follow Jesus encounter significant persecution from both local and national sources. Converts can be disowned by their families, and forced to divorce their spouse and to leave the family home. Married converts to Christianity from Islam also lose custody of their children.

Non-traditional Christian communities cannot be registered as churches and instead, usually have to be registered as companies, organizations or family centres. So, they are treated as secular business entities and are required to annually submit their financial and operational reports to the government.

Every level of society in Brunei is affected by the continuing introduction of Shariah law. The full implementation of Shariah law in 2019 raised international concern for what it would mean for Brunei, and even a year later, the meaning of the law for Christians is still somewhat unclear, though it seems to generally not have been implemented against Christians.

Who is most vulnerable to persecution?

Since the kingdom is so small, there is no real geographic differences or any kind of rural/urban split for persecution. Converts from Islam are particularly targeted, especially because they are breaking the law. They can have their rights denied and sometimes prefer to go abroad rather than live in where they experience constant, strong pressure.

Meet 'Elora'

“Believers are not willing to take risks. Parents choose not to send their children to public church events either. Some of my friends have even said they don’t see a place for themselves in the church anymore. Please pray that the Glory of God will shine in Brunei.”

Elora

What has changed compared to last year?

Brunei’s rank on the 2021 World Watch List is two spots lower than it was on last year’s list. And yet, persecution actually rose slightly in this tiny kingdom. Pressure increased in most areas of life for Christians. Even though overt violence remains a remote risk for most followers of Jesus, many feel intense discrimination and abuse daily.

What does Open Doors do to help Christians in Brunei?

The announcement of Shariah penal law in May of 2014—and its full implementation in April 2019—has heightened believers’ fears. Open Doors urges prayer support for believers in Brunei and for the local churches, as they experience mounting pressure from the government.

How can you pray for Brunei?

  • The many Islamic laws in Brunei have been squeezing the church for decades, making it ineffective for the advancement of the Kingdom of God. Pray that God will break that squeeze and release His church to be a blessing to this nation.
  • Laws are in place to prevent anyone from reaching out to the people of Brunei with the message of salvation. Please pray for God to open the doors of this country so that many will come to faith in Christ.
  • Pray also for the church in Brunei, that God would bless them and use them for His kingdom.
     
a prayer for Brunei

Father God, we pray for Your people in Brunei. We ask that You would bless and strengthen them, and give them wisdom and boldness in equal measure. We pray You would bless the Sultan, and that You would soften his heart toward the Christians in his kingdom. We pray especially for those Christians who converted from Islam, that You would protect and give them strength to carry on when it seems impossible. In Jesus’ name, Amen.