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Christians are being butchered in Africa. What are we going to do about it?

Christians praying in Benin, Africa
Christians pray at a gathering at a football stadium in the West African nation of Benin. |

In 2022, at least 360 million Christians experienced “high levels of persecution and discrimination.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, radical groups used the COVID restrictions to tighten control and surveillance over Church worship and teachings. When Churches were shut down across America due to COVID-19 restrictions, there was a big outcry and rightful protests, which I supported. Still, when it comes to African Christians, many of them don’t have a voice, and many of the ones that wanted to protest are lying under the ground. This means one thing: We are their voice, and they rely on us to speak up for their basic right to practice their faith.

The number of Christians who paid with their lives for their faith was 5,898 in 2022, which is up from 4,761 in 2021, according to the Open Doors USA organization.

Out of that number, around 4,000 Christians were killed in Nigeria by Islamist groups, such as Boko Haram, Fulani herdsmen, and Ansaru, which teach that Christians should either convert to Islam or die.

Recently, it was reported that 21 Christians were murdered in violent radical Islamic attacks in the Chiure district of Cabo Delgado Province in northern Mozambique. The ISIS-affiliated group that carried out that attack is known as Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jama, which is also striking terror on moderate Muslims that are not “Muslim enough,” in their ideology.

The terrorists set on fire churches and homes of Christians, causing hundreds of Christians to displace. Has anyone heard about it on the news? Why, when Christians are butchered in Africa, no one seems to care?

One of the most heartbreaking stories that happened in Africa was the brutal killing of a 14-year-old Christian girl named Leah Sharibu. She was kidnapped on February 19, 2018, together with 110 more pupils from their school in Yobe State, Nigeria, by the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP). One girl tragically died during the captivity, but the rest of the girls were released within a month. But the terror group decided to keep Sharibu because she refused to denounce her Christian faith. To this day, no one knows what the fate of Sharibu is, but many believe that she is still alive in captivity, and is 19 years old today. Only God knows what these terrorists have done to her.

According to the Pew Research Center, the number of Christians living in Africa is estimated to be around 600 million. This makes Christianity the most prevalent religion on the continent, accounting for about 48% of the total population. The largest Christian countries in Africa are Nigeria and Ethiopia, with populations of over 198 million and 105 million people, respectively. These numbers make up a significant portion of the African population and demonstrate that Christianity is one of the major religious influences in this part of the world.

By 2060, the Pew Center reported recently, there will be 727 million Christians in Africa, and more than 40% will call sub-Saharan Africa home. Millions of them are in danger.

The silence from around the world in response to the persecution of Christians in Africa is deafening. Despite increased awareness of the issue and numerous calls for action, governments and international organizations have failed to make meaningful strides toward protecting African Christians. This lack of attention has allowed religious extremism to grow unchecked, resulting in a significant number of deaths each year that goes largely unnoticed by global media outlets. By failing to recognize and confront this ongoing crisis, countries are complicit in allowing these atrocities against innocent Christian communities to continue unabated.

The United Nations has long been criticized for its inconsistent and hypocritical approach to international affairs. On the one hand, it has consistently stayed silent on the issue of Christian persecution in countries such as North Korea, Iran, China, and other nations that are hostile towards religious freedom. Yet, on the other hand, it is often quick to condemn Israel for alleged human rights abuses against Palestinians, calling Israel an occupying regime. This imbalance in the UN's role in protecting minority rights is both concerning and unacceptable. It speaks to an organization that values politics over morality and fails to recognize the suffering of all people equally. The only way this double standard can end is with a concerted effort from like-minded countries within the UN system to ensure equal protection for all individuals, regardless of their beliefs or nationality. This is the only way to ensure justice and fairness for all.

So, what can we as individuals do to end Christian persecution in Africa? Fortunately, there are many ways that people can take action to help end Christian persecution in Africa.

One of the most important things is to raise awareness about the issue. Educating yourself and others on the realities of Christian persecution in Africa is a great way to be an advocate for those suffering. Additionally, financially supporting organizations that work to protect persecuted Christians is another effective way to make a difference. These organizations often provide essential aid and services such as legal assistance and medical care for those affected by religious persecution. Finally, advocating for legislation abroad can also have a significant impact. Writing letters or making phone calls to state representatives urging them to prioritize ending religious discrimination can pressure governments to take meaningful action against Christian persecution in Africa.

With these simple steps, anyone can make a difference in the fight against Christian persecution in Africa.

No one should have to live in fear of discrimination or violence simply because of their faith, and with collective action, we can create a world where all people are free to worship without fear. Together, we can work towards ending Christian persecution in Africa and bringing safety and justice to vulnerable communities.

By joining together, we can stop Christian persecution in Africa. We can create a brighter future for all people, regardless of their faith. We must never lose sight of our ultimate goal: fighting for real justice, which the liberal camp had neglected.                                   

We need to take action now if we want to end Christian persecution in Africa. Whether it's raising awareness about the issue, financially supporting organizations that protect persecuted Christians, advocating for legislation abroad, or volunteering on behalf of persecuted people, we can all do our part to help end Christian persecution in Africa.

Remember, today it is them being persecuted. Tomorrow, it can be you.

Hananya Naftali is an Israeli influencer and public speaker. He has written for publications like the Jerusalem Post and the Times of Israel.   He is also an advisor to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who has worked on his digital team since 2018. 

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