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 Mozambique.
Christians face extreme violence in the northern part of the country. Christians have been forced to flee their homes. Islamic extremists have looted and destroyed many Christian places of worship, Christian schools and businesses owned by Christians. Christian aid workers were also 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.
In April, a jihadist group with possible ties to Islamic State killed 52 people, burned down churches and institutions and attacked villages.
Generally, the country has limited religious freedom. However, the persecution of Christians is severest in the northern Cabo Delgado Province due to ISIS-affiliated extremists carrying out violent attacks there.
Mozambique has entered the top 50 of the World Watch List for the first time. 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. The country’s army withdrew from important strategic locations, so a persecution phenomenon that was limited to a smaller part of the country expanded in the last year. Finally, the presence of drug cartels in some areas makes the lives of Christians difficult – especially for church youth workers.
Through local partners, Open Doors has taken up work to strengthen Christians in Mozambique since 2020. Through strategic partnerships with the local church, Open Doors planned to support the persecuted church with training. Due to an increase in violence against Christians in the Cabo Delgado Province, Open Doors delivered relief aid in August 2020.
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. In Your Holy name, Jesus. Amen.