Burkina Faso: Christians increasingly harassed by Islamic extremists

Displaced children in Burkina Faso

Originally published in Worthy News

Churches in Burkina Faso have been increasingly harassed by Muslim extremists who have disrupted their services, International Christian Concern (ICC) reports. The population of Burkina Faso is 60.5% Islamic and 23.2% Christian, with 15.3% of indigenous beliefs, according to Wikipedia.

In recent weeks Islamic militants have entered church services and forced men and women to sit separately, ICC reports. Islamists have also made church leaders preach Islamic sermons. “With this being the case, many people in the villages are not receiving proper pastoral care, and the pastoral care that is occurring is only because it is permitted by Islamists,” ICC said in its report.

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“Once a harmonious nation, Burkina Faso has come under the shadow of radical Islamists since 2015 and has suffered like many other Sahel countries in Africa,” ICC said. “The deliberate targeting of Christian worship sites has been one of the main goals of the radical Islamic groups targeting the region ever since they started taking root there.”

Burkina Faso

The Burkina Faso central government is so weak that Sharia law is now unofficially implemented in the eastern part of the country, US Open Doors explains in a website statement. “Jihadist violence has been rapidly increasing in recent years, and extremists have exploited the government’s weakness during the COVID-19 crisis to gain control of the country’s infrastructure,”

The surge in Islamic extremism has resulted in hundreds of church closures and in some 1 million displaced people, including many Christians, Open Doors reports. “Believers who’ve converted from Islam face the most persecution. Family and community members often reject them and try to force them to renounce their Christian faith. Many are afraid to express their faith in public because of such threats,” Open Doors said.

Elizabeth Kendal reports in her latest Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin (August 2 2022) that terrorism in Burkina Faso has created a Christian crisis in the nation with civilians increasingly under threat from robberies, kidnappings and murder.

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