WHO IS THE LEADER OF MAURITANIA?
President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz is the leader of Mauritania.
HOW MANY CHRISTIANS LIVE IN MAURITANIA?
There are 10,100 Christians in Mauritania. They are a tiny minority, making up just 0.2 per cent of the total population of 4.5 million. Most of the Christians in Mauritania are expatriates. The small number of Mauritanian Christians are believers from Muslim backgrounds - they often keep their faith secret.
The majority of the population are Muslims.
WHY ARE CHRISTIANS PERSECUTED IN MAURITANIA?
Mauritania is an Islamic Republic, and the influence of Islamic extremism is increasing. Radical Islamic preachers contribute greatly to the radicalisation of society and fuel hatred towards non-Muslims. The government has tightened its blasphemy and apostasy laws as a way of gaining support from Islamic groups and holding on to power.
WHAT IS LIFE LIKE FOR CHRISTIANS IN MAURITANIA?
If someone is seen to be expressing views that are critical of Islam they can be sentenced to death, although this law has been largely symbolic up until now. Migrant Christians have to be very careful about what they say publicly.
It is illegal for a Mauritanian to leave Islam, so believers from Muslim backgrounds will often keep their faith secret. In this nomadic, communal society where the extended family is often necessary for survival, it is a huge risk for a Mauritanian to become a Christian and risk rejection by their family and their community. If their faith is discovered, they may lose not only their status in their community but also their citizenship.
HOW CAN I HELP CHRISTIANS IN NORTH AFRICA?
You can give to provide vital support
Open Doors supports the church in North Africa by providing Christian literature, training, socio-economic development programmes and advocacy support.
Give to support Christians in North Africa and the Middle East.
You can SPEAK OUT
Sign up for advocacy alerts for updates on how you can be a voice for our persecuted church family.
You can pray
Brother Andrew, the founder of Open Doors, says, “Our prayers can go where we cannot... There are no borders, no prison walls, no doors that are closed to us when we pray.”
A PRAYER FOR MAURITANIA
Lord Jesus, protect our brothers and sisters in Mauritania from violence and false allegations. May the truth of Your Word shine through their lives in both their speech and their actions, that others may see Your love. Guard those converts from Islam who are especially vulnerable to persecution.