Christians are a tiny minority in Mauritania. In a population of around 4.9 million, just 10,900 are Christians. The majority are Muslim.
What does persecution look like in Mauritania?
It is illegal in Mauritania to convert from Islam to another faith. The restrictive environment makes it impossible for Christians (especially converts from Islam) to openly meet and worship together. Any expression of faith by non-Mauritanian Christians (such as migrants or aid workers) also carries the risk of being seen as proselytizing Muslims and can lead to prosecution.
Pressure on converts from Islam to Christianity can be very high, particularly in rural areas where tribal and family ties are especially strict. Violent Islamic extremist groups, like al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), are particularly active in the country's eastern border regions.
What has changed compared to last year?
Little has changed about persecution in Mauritania. Any deviation from Islamic belief is strongly opposed nationally, in communities and through family pressure.
Open Doors works to support believers in North Africa through distributing Christian literature where possible, providing training and organizing socio-economic development projects and advocacy support.
- Pray for the secret believers of Mauritania as they seek to worship God. Their conversion is illegal, and their danger is real.
- Pray for a new openness toward religious expression among government officials. Ask God to open their hearts.
- Pray that God would provide creative ways for believers to find and support each other in their difficult walk of faith.
Oh, Lord, we take for granted the freedom to worship as we choose. Your children in Mauritania don't have that option; every day they put their lives at risk by following You. Be their strong defender and mighty rock in the midst of an unfriendly sea. Bring change to Mauritania that welcomes the diversity and freshness of Christianity into the country. Help Mauritanian Christians discover and draw strength from others around them who share their faith. In Jesus' name, amen.