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Mali Facts

Score:66/ 100
Region:Africa
Persecution Type:Islamic oppression
Persecution Level:Very High
Population:19,681,000
Christians:461,000
Main Religion:Islam
Government:Semi-presidential republic
Leader:President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita

Profile of Persecution

Violence 82%
Church Life 70%
National Life 60%
Community Life 77%
Family Life 49%
Private Life 55%

Increasing Islamic radicalization

Last year, northern Mali saw a rise in violent incidents, including attacks and kidnappings. While the majority of Malians traditionally practice a relatively tolerant version of Islam, increasing radicalization continues to pressure and physically harm the lives of Christians and their churches. This radicalization has led to intensifying violence against Christians from jihadist groups, such as Al Qaeda, and from criminal organizations that have allied themselves with radical Islamic rebel groups and target Christians. In the northern region, evangelistic activities are especially risky and could lead to attacks by radical Muslims.

With the proliferation of jihadist groups like Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, the vast territory of Mali not under effective government control is becoming a sanctuary for Islamic militants who are a threat to the security of the entire region. Located in one of the hotbed regions for jihadists, the situation in Mali is part of the overall rise of Islamic militancy in the entire region.

How Christians are suffering

In Mali, Christians are experiencing an increase in violence and hostility, especially those who openly share their faith. Believers from a Muslim background particularly suffer the trauma of rejection and intimidation from their families. Plus, traditional and cultural norms mean that many Christian women and girls are subjected to sexual abuse, forced marriage, under-age marriage, and are denied access to modern education. Christian missionaries operating in Mali live under the constant threat of abduction, and some have been kidnapped by jihadists. Some kidnapped missionaries are still held hostage.

Examples

In March 2019, more than 100 people were killed in attacks by Islamic militants. Reportedly, most of the victims were Christians.

In June 2019, more than 90 people were killed in Sobame Da, a mainly Christian village in central Mali’s Mopti region.

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 Mali

  • Thank the Lord for the presence of the church in Mali. Thank Him that the government allows for freedom of worship and doesn’t try to limit official religious freedom.
  • Instability continues in Mali, and it is affecting the entire region. Pray for peace to be restored in the country. Pray for wisdom and great accountability for the government and its international partners as they work to restore peace.
  • Christians are still affected by Islamic oppression. Evangelistic activities in the north are especially risky and could lead to being attacked by radical Muslims. Christian missionaries operating in Mali also live under the constant threat of abduction, and some have been kidnapped by jihadists. Pray for much grace and courage for the church as they live out their mission in Mali.

 

 

Stories from Mali

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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January 11, 2020

2019: The most read/watched stories of Christian persecution

The most widely read/watched stories of Christian persecution you engaged with on Open Doors' website and social media. Read More

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June 22, 2019

95 Christians killed in Mali attack—‘No one was spared’

A recent Fulani militant attack in Mali killed an estimated 95 people. All who died were Christians. Read More

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