Burning of Churches and Homes in Mozambique: Christians Forced to Convert, Pay Jizyah, or Face Death in Ongoing Persecution

Farrukh Saif

February 17, 2024

Christian Persecution-ISIS terrorists

In modern times, Christians in Africa are experiencing their most challenging period, marked by persecution led by Islamist militants. After, Nigeria, now Mozambique, becomes a land of Persecution for the Christians.

The Brutality of Islamist Militant Attacks:

In recent attacks by Islamist insurgent groups in Cabo Delgado Province have led to the displacement of priests, Nuns, and missionary workers, overwhelming cities already struggling with internally displaced persons. Terrorists claiming allegiance to Daesh raided three communities on February 9th, resulting in casualties, kidnappings, and mass evacuations.

According to the eyewitnesses, churches and homes were burned during the attack in Northern Mozambique. At the beginning of 2024, Islamist militants began attacking, escalating a conflict that began in 2017. So far, from 2017 to Feb 2024, more than 5,000 Christians have been killed.

The Alarming Surge of Christian Persecution in Mozambique:

Thousands of Christians are displaced from the Northern Part of the country and taking refuge in the different parts of the country. Currently, the Catholic Church is taking care of thousands of IDPs.

The Cabo Delgado Province in northern Mozambique has been a stronghold of Daesh (ISIS) since 2017. Additionally, this militant group has gained control over certain border areas of Tanzania.

Before the recent attack on Christians, on February 12, 2024, the “Bariqah” Telegram channel, affiliated with the Islamic State (ISIS), shared a photo and a video detailing an assault on a passenger bus in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province. Unfortunately, the driver lost his life in the shooting, and the attackers left notes for the passengers.

Pay Jizyah Or Be Killed

These handwritten notes in both English and Portuguese which state” government of the Islamic State of Mozambique.” The notes declare war on Christians worldwide, presenting three options: convert to Islam, pay jizyah (a mandated poll tax for non-Muslims), or face war until the end of time. Muslims are offered peace, urging collaboration to defend the religion. Refusal to convert results in jizyah payment, and refusal to pay leads to death.

Mozambican news reports state that on February 9, “Islamist terrorists” abducted a bus driver near Meluco, Cabo Delgado province. In a separate incident on February 11, terrorists halted a bus near Nangororo, Meluco district, forcing passengers to surrender money before allowing them to proceed.

Based on information provided by the National Statistics Institute in 2020, 62 percent of Mozambique’s population identifies as Christian. Specifically, there are more than 8.54 million Catholics in the country, constituting approximately 27% of the populace. Mozambique is organized into twelve dioceses, including three archdioceses, with the earliest mission initiated by Portuguese Franciscans in 1500.

The recent surge in Christian persecution in Africa has sparked numerous questions, highlighting concerns that the African region is emerging as one of the most persecuted places for Christians. Since the rise of Islam, Christianity has faced ongoing challenges in the African context, with this new wave of persecution intensifying fears for the safety and freedom of Christian communities. The unsettling trend prompts reflection on the complex dynamics and religious tensions impacting the region, calling for increased attention and efforts to address the plight of persecuted Christians in Africa.

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Farrukh Saif

Farrukh H. Saif, a courageous Christian human rights activist, established the Farrukh Saif Foundation in 2009 to confront religious discrimination, blasphemy laws, and bonded slavery in Pakistan. His dedication to liberating bonded laborers from brick kilns and advocating for blasphemy victims and asylum seekers has garnered international acclaim. Despite encountering threats and fatwas, his impactful work persists in supporting marginalized communities. In 2018, the foundation merged with The Emergency Committee to Save the Persecuted and Enslaved, enhancing its global outreach.

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