The Alarming Rise of Anti-Christian Persecution in Africa

Farrukh Saif

April 18, 2024


The Spread of Islamist Extremism and Its Devastating Impact on Christian Communities with the rise of Islamism in Africa, Christians are increasingly persecuted. Nigeria is one of the deadliest places to be a Christian, according to NGO Open Doors. Since January 1st, 600 Christians have been “hacked to death.”

They are often forced to change their religion. In recent years, the African continent has witnessed a deeply troubling surge in the persecution and targeting of Christian communities, driven by the alarming spread of Islamist extremism across the region.

This crisis has been particularly acute in sub-Saharan Africa, where Christian minorities are facing an unprecedented onslaught of violence, displacement, and forced conversions.

The epicenter of this crisis is Nigeria, where the Middle Belt region has become a battleground for Islamist militants. Groups like Boko Haram, Islamic State West Africa, and Fulani tribesmen have unleashed a campaign of terror, carrying out brutal attacks on Christian villages and communities.

In 2022 alone, over 4,650 Nigerian Christians were killed, a staggering increase from the 3,600 reported in 2021.

The tactics employed by these extremist groups are nothing short of horrific. Killings, kidnappings, forced conversions, and the systematic destruction of churches have become all too common. In one particularly harrowing incident, a Catholic bride and her bridesmaids were beheaded while traveling for her wedding.

The situation has been further exacerbated by the involvement of the Kremlin-backed Wagner group, which has been actively engaged in the region, adding to the instability and violence. Tragically, the international community has been accused of turning a blind eye to the scale of the crisis, leaving Christian communities to fend for themselves against the onslaught.

A Call to Action:

Experts warn that the growth of Islamist extremism across the Sahel region threatens to destabilize the area further, creating a vacuum for Islamism to thrive and putting Christian communities at even greater risk.

The implications of this crisis extend far beyond the borders of Nigeria as the contagion of religious intolerance and violence spreads across the continent.

The time has come for the global community to take decisive action to address this humanitarian crisis. Governments, international organizations, and civil society must come together to condemn the atrocities, provide aid and protection to the affected communities, and work tirelessly to bring an end to the persecution of Christians in Africa.

Failure to act will only embolden the extremists, leading to further bloodshed and the erosion of religious freedom in the region. The world cannot afford to remain silent in the face of such egregious human rights violations.

The future of Africa’s Christian communities hangs in the balance, and the global community must rise to the challenge.

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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