CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC35
World Watch List: 35
Leader: President Faustin-Archange Touadera
Population: 4.9 million
Christian: 3.7 million
Main Religion: Christianity
Source of Persecution: Islamic Oppression
Open Doors supports the persecuted church in Central African Republic through:
Emotional and physical relief
Financial support and help with business ventures
Reconstruction of churches
“If I should one day meet the Muslim man who shot the grenades at my church, I will not be angry. I will smile. I do not even have the heart to hurt him. I think that he doesn’t really know how terrible it is what he has done. I will greet him and say, ‘God forgives you, and He wants me to forgive you too. You do not know what you have done to me, but I forgive you.’ And once I have told him that, I will never be angry with him.”
Persecution type: Islamic oppression/Organised crime and corruption
What does persecution look like in CAR?
The Central African Republic has seen near-constant conflict and fighting since 2013. Much of the country is occupied by various armed militia groups, who are responsible for a range of human rights abuses. Many of these groups—whether Islamic extremist or otherwise—specifically target Christians, so life is constantly uncertain for believers in the areas under militia control.
Christian leaders who have publicly denounced the violence have been threatened; church buildings have been burned and ransacked. The conflict has resulted in the displacement of thousands of Christians who have lost their homes and livelihood, now forced to live in displacement camps.
In addition to the insecurity and violence that all Christians suffer from, converts to Christianity from Islam also face persecution from their immediate family members. The local community will often ostracize Christian converts and might also try to force them to renounce Christianity through violence.
Who is most vulnerable to persecution?
Persecution is most severe in the northern and eastern parts of the country, where the Muslim population dominates and splinter-groups from Séléka (an alliance of rebel militia groups) are operating. There are also particular difficulties for Christians in the eastern part of the country that borders Sudan. Additionally, Christians who convert from Islam are doubly vulnerable because of both the general violence against believers, as well as intense pressure from family and community.
Pray for followers of Jesus who are targeted by various groups in violent attacks. Whether Islamic extremists, organized criminal militias or radical followers of animist faiths, these groups all single out Christians for attack. Pray God will protect these believers and keep them safe.
Pray for peace in CAR, and that God would touch the hearts of leaders of every group.
Pray for converts from Islam, that they would be protected from oppression at the hands of their families and communities. Pray they would be able to find Christians who could help them grow and mature in their faith.