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Kenya Facts

Score:61/ 100
Region:Africa
Persecution Type:Islamic oppression
Persecution Level:Very High
Population:52,215,000
Christians:42,820,000
Main Religion:Christianity
Government:Presidential republic
Leader:President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta

Profile of Persecution

Violence 54%
Church Life 66%
National Life 50%
Community Life 65%
Family Life 63%
Private Life 70%

A growing threat of Islamic radicalism

Even though Kenya is a majority-Christian country, reports have indicated that a growing al-Shabab presence in the northeast and coastal regions monitors the activities of Christians. Believers in these parts of Kenya who converted from Islam live under constant threat of attack—even from their closest relatives. Organized corruption and crime are also serious problems. Corrupt officials do not take measures against those who persecute Christians; this encourages additional acts of persecution.

How Christians are suffering

All Christian communities in the country face persecution although where they live and which Christian groups they belong to significantly impact the level of persecution. Radical Muslims living in Kenya, together with militants crossing the border from Somalia, severely persecute Christians and in recent years have been responsible for the killing of hundreds of Christians. Any Christian who lives or works in countries bordering Somalia is at risk for intimidation and attacks by al-Shabab.

Examples

In some parts of Kenya’s northeastern and coastal regions, Christians are often ostracized and denied access to community resources.

On January 15, 2019, al-Shabab took responsibility for a 19-hour siege of a hotel in Nairobi and the killing of more than 10 people. The Islamic extremist group said it took the action because the U.S. President had declared Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel.

Four days later on January 19, 2019, a Christian convert was beaten and subsequently arrested by Muslim policemen on the outskirts of Nairobi after refusing to renounce Christianity.

On May 17, 2019, a Muslim mob attacked four churches in Nairobi, injuring several Christians.

Population and number of Christian statistics: Johnson T M and Zurlo G A, eds., World Christian Database (Leiden/Boston: Brill, accessed April 2019).

 

Pray for Kenya

  • In the predominantly Muslim areas of northeast and coastal Kenya, political groups are using people’s dissatisfaction with the government to spread radicalism with direct and indirect consequences for the church that has suffered violent attacks. Pray for wisdom and diligence from the government in dealing with grievances and that they will be able to unify the people of Kenya.
  • The church has limited capacity to minister to congregations and communities in the context of persecution. Pray that Open Doors’ persecution preparedness training will bring hope to many in their difficult circumstances.
  • Many Christians have suffered severe trauma in targeted attacks and Open Doors is working hard to equip the Kenyan church to offer trauma healing and support to members. Pray for Christians who have been traumatized, that they would find healing, and that their pastors and communities would help show the love of Christ to them.

Stories from Kenya

January 15, 2020

Every day, 8 Christians killed for their decision to follow Jesus

In-depth research for Open Doors' 2020 World Watch List shows that at least eight Christians, largely in Sub-Saharan Africa, die at the hands of persecutors (extremists, family members and state authorities) each day. Read More

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December 16, 2019

‘They have attacked us again as usual’—10 Kenyans executed mid-Advent

A bus attack by Islamic extremist group al Shabaab in Kenya has claimed 10 lives. The attack mirrors other extremist incidents in which militants separate Muslims from non-Muslims for execution or kidnapping. Read More

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July 10, 2019

11 of the top persecutors around the world today

Christian persecution is on the rise, and these are some of the worst offenders and persecutors of Christians around the world. Read More

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