In Niger, religion is understood to be a private matter, but the government’s separation of state and religion is under increasing pressure. Christians are a minority in Niger, where 99 percent of citizens are Muslim. Many Christians are able to live and worship peacefully, but in some areas, radical Muslim clerics stir up animosity toward believers. For instance, Muslim religious leaders of the Izala group, a radical Islamic group originating in northern Nigeria, are active in Niger and threatening the freedom of Christians.
In border regions under Islamist control, Christians have been hindered from celebrating Christian weddings. Public worship and meetings of Christians have to be conducted with caution in such areas, due to the threat of violence from militant groups.
The families of converts from Islam try to make them stop following Jesus by threats or use of force. Other Christians do not face this form of persecution and are generally allowed to practice their faith in private. Christians are not treated equally in the public sector, are rarely able to secure employment within local government services, and are frequently denied promotion. Christians have occasionally been hindered from gathering for meetings and the legal process for the registration of churches is long and difficult.
Corruption is a problem in the judiciary; officials who engage in corrupt practices attract negative publicity, but are not adequately prosecuted. This situation harms all of Niger society, including the Christian population.
Boko Haram is active in parts of southern Niger and targets Christians, and the actions of Boko Haram in surrounding nations has created a massive humanitarian crisis that has impacted believers.
In June 2019, a Protestant church was set on fire by protesters who were protesting the arrest of an Imam.
In October 2019, a mission school was vandalized by jihadists who operate in the region.