What does persecution look like in Central African Republic?
The ongoing conflict in Central African Republic (CAR) since 2013 has resulted in thousands of Christians losing their homes and livelihoods, and many continue to live in camps for internally displaced people. Most of the country is occupied by armed militia groups who are responsible for a range of human rights abuses. When Christian leaders have publicly denounced the violence, they’ve been threatened, and their churches ransacked and torched. Pastors are especially at risk, with some even being attacked during church services.
Meanwhile, those who convert from Islam are at risk of persecution from their family and local community – including forced marriage and separation from children, for women. There are reports of Christian mothers being allowed to attend Christian gatherings on condition that her children are sent to the mosque. Given the poverty many Christian families live in, parents are sometimes enticed into giving their daughters in marriage in exchange for gifts, while some Christian women agree to convert to Islam to survive.
Who is most vulnerable to persecution?
Christians are most at risk in the northern and eastern parts of the country, which are dominated by the Muslim population and where Séléka splinter groups are operating. Christians who have converted from Islam are at particular risk.
"After the hard trials of persecution that we went through, it is thanks to you that I and my children are at peace."Dama, a Christian who lost her husband in an attack by members of a rebel group
What has changed this year?
The persecution of Christians in CAR remains very high, with violence increasing year after year. Different armed groups and organised crime and corruption have made life very difficult for Christians. Many churches have been forced to close, and Christians' homes and businesses have been destroyed. Christians are also caught in the fighting between different armed groups. Many Christians have fled the country or their homes.
What does Open Doors do to help Christians in Central African Republic?
Open Doors works through local partners to support believers in the Central African Republic with persecution survival training, economic empowerment projects and trauma care.
How can you pray for Central Republic of Africa?
- Please pray for peace and stability in the country.
- Pray for the protection of believers in Central African Republic, particularly church leaders who are especially at risk of attack.
- Pray that Christians will be able to make a living, to provide not only for their families but also to reach out to their local communities.
Dear God, we cry out for peace in this troubled nation. Help the government to tackle the continuing insecurity and show the leaders of militant groups a more peaceable way of living. Meet the needs of all those displaced and facing persecution. Strengthen their faith and may their Spirit-filled lives draw many others to You. Protect Your children from harm, particularly church leaders as they face increasing dangers. Continue to help Open Doors local partners in their work serving Christians in the country. Give them wisdom and strength in all their activities. Amen.