Mali’s New Constitution Offers Hope for Persecuted Christian Minority

Farrukh Saif

May 17, 2024

Mali's New Constitution

Mali’s New Constitution Recognizes Non-Muslim Minorities, Offers Hope for Persecuted Christians Mali’s new constitution, approved in a referendum on June 18, 2023, has been hailed as a positive step for the country’s religious minorities, including its tiny Christian population. The constitution upholds Mali’s secular status despite opposition from some Muslim groups who wanted references to secularism removed.

Recognition of Non-Muslim Minorities:

The new constitution explicitly recognizes non-Muslim minorities, a significant development in a country where over 90% of the population is Muslim. This recognition offers hope for more excellent protection and rights for Mali’s Christian minority, which has faced persecution and discrimination, particularly in the northern regions controlled by Islamic extremist groups. Where almost every day, Christians are attacked by these groups.

Christian Persecution in Mali:

Christians in Mali, numbering fewer than half a million in a population of 22.1 million, have endured significant hardships due to the Islamic insurgency that has devastated the north since 2012.

Churches have been burned, and many Christians have lost their homes and been forced to flee the region. Those who remain in areas controlled by militants have been denied access to water and land for agriculture.

Believers engaged in evangelistic activities in the north are especially vulnerable to violence, while Christian missionaries live under the constant threat of abduction by jihadists. Converts from Islam to Christianity risk facing violence and pressure from their relatives and communities if their new faith is discovered.

 The jihadist violence has been spreading southward, further endangering the Christian minority. The authorities’ inability to stem the insurgency has contributed to public protests and two military coups in 2020 and 2021, creating an unstable environment for all Malians, including Christians.

A Step Towards Greater Protection:

The recognition of non-Muslim minorities in the new constitution is a significant step towards greater protection and rights for persecuted Christians in Mali. While the implementation of the constitution remains to be seen, this development offers hope for a more inclusive and tolerant society, where all religious groups can practice their faith without fear of persecution or discrimination.

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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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