Mali Facts

Score: 59 / 100
Region: Africa
Persecution Type: Islamic Oppression
Persecution Level: High
Population: 18,690,000
Christians: 413,000
Main Religion: Islam
Government: Semi-presidential Republic
Leader: President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita

Profile of Persecution Methodology

Violence 58%
Church Life 55%
National Life 48%
Community Life 67%
Family Life 57%
Private Life 68%

Where Persecution Comes From

While Malians have traditionally practiced a relatively tolerant version of Islam, over the past few years the West African country has become increasingly militant and intolerant. In the northern part of the country especially, this intolerance has resulted in intense Christian persecution. In 2012 militant Islamic groups, aided by foreign fighters linked to al-Qaeda, took over a significant portion of the northern region, and their influence is still felt though most have been expelled. In addition to these groups’ radicalization of the Muslim population, ongoing insurgency still poses a threat to Christian believers.

How Christians are Suffering

When radical Islamic militant groups took control of the northern part of the country in 2012, churches were burned down and Christians had to flee. After losing their homes and having their churches destroyed, these displaced believers are still affected. Although some Christians and congregations have returned to the north under police protection, they still live under the threat of attack by Islamist militants. Evangelistic activities are especially risky, often leading to attacks. Christian missionaries operating in the country live under the constant threat of abduction, while Christians from Muslim backgrounds face violence and pressure from relatives and family members if their conversion to Christianity is discovered.


In 2016 and 2017, three foreign Christian missionaries were kidnapped in separate incidents by different Islamic groups.

In November 2016, suspected Islamic militants shot and killed Moussa Issah Bary, the Christian deputy mayor of Kerana (city near the Burkina Faso border). Bary was a rare example of a Christian member of the predominantly Muslim Fulani ethnic group.

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Pray for Mali

  • Driven by terrorist attacks, violence in Mali has increased substantially. Pray for peace over this country.
  • Pray for Christians who have been displaced from their homes in Northern Mali by Islamic militants. Pray this hardship will not deter them from loving their neighbors.
  • Pray for Muslim background believers who find it difficult to live out their faith due to hostile family and community environments.

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August 25, 2017

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February 27, 2017

Colombian Nurse Kidnapped in Mali

Gloria Argoti Cecilia Narvaez Argoti, 56, a nurse and Franciscan nun, was kidnapped by self-proclaimed jihadists in southern Mali.