Islamization across sub-Saharan Africa
With reports of kidnappings, attacks and executions coming in almost daily, sub-Saharan Africa has become increasingly violent for Christians. Research for the 2020 World Watch List shows Islamization in this area as one of the major trends in persecution over the last year.
The violence gives way to what Open Doors is calling, “a wave of Islamist influence backed by money, weapons, drugs and organized crime spreading across Sub-Saharan Africa.”
Of the 2,983 deaths of Christians reported during the year-long 2020 World Watch List reporting period, well over half of Christians killed and churches attacked were in sub-Saharan Africa. In Nigeria, Central African Republic (CAR), South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Burkina Faso, 2,476 Christians were martyred for their faith—1,350 reported in Nigeria alone. In Nigeria, Christians are targeted by Fulani militants, Boko Haram, ISWAP and a range of armed criminal groups that attack Christian communities and churches, kill, kidnap and rape with little-to-no consequences.
Rev. Lawan puts a face on horrifying World Watch List statistics as one of the 87 Christians abducted each month for their faith and one of the eight Christians killed every day for following Jesus.
Download the 2020 World Watch List
While reacting to the killings, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari condemned the apparent killings and urged Nigerians not to let themselves be divided along religious lines.
“We should, under no circumstance, let the terrorists divide us by turning Christians against Muslims because these barbaric killers don’t represent Islam and millions of other law-abiding Muslims around the world,” he said in a statement.
CAN spokesperson Bayo Oladeji spoke to the International Center for Investigative Reporting about Rev. Lawan’s violent death: “It is pathetic and painful to learn that such a gentleman could be killed like a ram,” Oladeji said, adding that CAN would release an official statement this week.