World Watch List: 50
Leader: Mahamadou Issoufou President
Main Religion: Islam
Government: Unitary semi-presidential republic
Source of Persecution: Islamic Oppression
In cooperation with local partners and churches, Open Doors supports the church in Niger through:
- Equipping and training
- Socio-economic development projects
- Caring for new believers
- Emergency relief
“I thought persecution was something that happens elsewhere, like Nigeria, Iran, or Egypt. But now I realize it is in my room, even under my bed.”
– A Christian in Niger
Source of persecution: Islamic oppression / Religious nationalism
Convert, die, or flee
In Niger, religion is understood to be a private matter, but that is starting to change. There are various Islamist groups active in Niger who speak out against Christianity publicly and threaten Christians. Christianity is seen as a foreign religion of “infidels” that does not belong in Niger. They basically give Christians three choices: convert to Islam, die, or flee.
Timed attacks at churches
Niger had in the past been, more or less, spared violent Islamic militancy and the church was not a main target. However, the country has come under a series of attacks by militants, especially in the areas bordering Nigerian and Mali. Christians are watched, and face being attacked in churches and being targeted for kidnap and assault. Church meetings have to be conducted with great caution. Pastors and church leaders have had to flee to larger cities for their safety. There were several attacks at churches that were timed to occur when there was a service happening.
Made to renounce Christ
The families of converts from Islam try to make them renounce Christianity by threats or use of force. Radical imams would instigate the community to attack and chase away converts, as well as any Christians supporting them. Therefore, believers usually choose to go underground and live their new faith in secret. Some even decide to leave the country.
- There are thousands of internally displaced people (IDPs) in Niger because of Boko Haram’s attacks, among them are many Christians. Pray that the IDPs receive the food and basic necessities that they need.
- For the secret believers who have to hide their faith, that they are able to still find ways to meet other Christians, so that they can mature in Christ.
- That the Lord will strengthen the faith of His people in Niger as they face such hostile persecution. Pray that they will not succumb to the pressure, but will hold on the hope we have in Jesus Christ.