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Djibouti Facts

Score: 56 / 100
Region: Africa
Persecution Type: Islamic Oppression
Persecution Level: High
Population: 911,000
Christians: 11,100
Main Religion: Islam
Government: Semi-presidential Republic
Leader: President Ismail Omar Guelleh

Profile of Persecution Methodology

Violence 68%
Church Life 70%
National Life 59%
Community Life 62%
Family Life 73%
Private Life 73%

Where Persecution Comes From

The sources of Christian persecution in Djibouti are government officials, family members, community leaders and some Muslim religious leaders. A staunchly undemocratic and paranoid government seeks to control every aspect of society by stifling the basic freedoms of association, religion and expression. The constitution declares Islam to be the state religion, with all laws and policies influenced by Sharia law (Islamic law). Because Djibouti is situated in the Horn of Africa, surrounded by volatile countries with repressive governments (like those of Eritrea, Somalia and Yemen), it acts as a conduit for jihadists and radical Islamic ideas.

How Christians are Suffering

All Christian communities in Djibouti face difficulties. However, Christians from Muslim backgrounds experience the worst persecution at the hands of local communities and family members. Djibouti’s communal lifestyle makes hiding one’s faith incredibly difficult. If someone is even rumored to have converted to Christianity, they lose their inheritance rights and often custody of their children. They are also closely monitored by their families, members of the local mosque and the rest of the community. Local authorities fail to protect Christians from attack, leading to impunity for persecutors.

Examples

Most Djiboutians are conservative Sunni Muslims and have strong family ties in Somalia and Yemen. These families do not tolerate any conversion to another religion.Christians, especially converts from Islam, face hindrances in their social interactions.

Some Muslim imams are using Friday sermons to ridicule Christians and Christianity.

In the WWL 2018 reporting period, there was no violence against Christians reported.

Pray for Djibouti

  • Pray with Christians who are constricted by Djibouti’s communal, Islamic culture. Pray for grace to continue living for Christ and that Christians would enjoy greater freedom to practice their faith.
  • Pray for imams who incite hatred against Christians. Ask God to intervene and soften their hearts toward an encounter with Jesus.
  • Pray that Christians will be able to forgive their persecutors when they’re refused jobs and denied community resources, and that they would continue to use every opportunity to share the hope of Christ with families and friends.

Stories from Djibouti

July 21, 2016

Djibouti: A Hotspot for Radicalization

President Guelleh responded to anti-government civil unrest with a mixture of superficial liberal moves and repressive actions of a rather…

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