Mauritania Facts

Score: 57 / 100
Region: Africa
Persecution Type: Islamic Oppression
Persecution Level: High
Population: 4,266,000
Christians: 10,000
Main Religion: Islam
Government: Presidential Republic
Leader: President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz

Profile of Persecution Methodology

Violence 72%
Church Life 66%
National Life 73%
Community Life 67%
Family Life 68%
Private Life 68%

Where Persecution Comes From

Officially the “Islamic Republic of Mauritania,” the autocratic government of Africa’s 11th largest country often tries to bolster its legitimacy by making itself out to be the protector of the Islamic religion. Because of this, the state is a major source of Christian persecution. Meanwhile, radical Islamic preachers contribute greatly to the radicalization of society, fueling antagonism and hatred towards non-Muslims. Radical Islamic militants are also present and active in the country. A caste system privileges certain groups and marginalizes darker-skinned Mauritanians and anyone who holds to a worldview other than Islam, including Christians.

How Christians are Suffering

Indigenous believers from Muslim backgrounds, especially those living outside the capital, are vulnerable to the most intense forms of persecution. These Christians face pressure, ostracism, violence and charges of apostasy, which carries the death penalty. Foreigners who express their faith also risk persecution due to laws prohibiting the proselytization of Muslims. In addition to the risk of prosecution at the hands of authorities, Christians also face the risk of violence from Islamic militant groups like al-Qaeda in the Maghreb. Incidents have also occurred where mobs staged demonstrations, demanding that the government investigate Christians for alleged offenses against Islam.


Due to intensely tight security, it’s impossible to report any recent incidences of Christians being persecuted. However, there are reports that in April 2016, the death sentence was upheld for an internet blogger (not a Christian) convicted of apostasy two years before. Because the government has not yet carried out his sentence, some Muslim preachers and businessmen have put out a significant bounty for anyone who kills him.

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Pray for Mauritania

  • Pray for the illiterate believers of Mauritania—many of them women—as they seek God with limited access to Scripture and in need of creative new ways to access the Word of God.
  • Pray for new business initiatives in Mauritania intended to help believers financially while also discipling them.
  • Continue to pray for racial reconciliation in a very divided country at a tense time in history. Pray for change in the unjust structures and attitudes of one group or tribe against another. Please pray that God would impart a supernatural capacity for forgiveness.

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