One of the most dangerous countries in the world for Christians – Djibouti

There are many forms of oppressing a religious community, nation or people. It can be done through politics, through a nation’s legal system, or even through the physical harassment of those who practice their faith. While today most democratic states guarantee religious freedom for their citizens; there are other nations, some not far away from Europe, where religious rights are not respected and where Christians face considerable difficulties if they wish to openly practice their faith.

Djibouti is one of those countries.  Situated to the east of the African Horn, famous for pirate attacks and close to the Arabian peninsula, it boasts a population of nine hundred thousand of which three hundred and eleven thousand are Christians. Because of its key location, it is an important country in the areas of transport and commerce yet in this country Christians are being persecuted. Their persecution is not in the media spotlight because believers are not subject to violence. They do, however, have to bear the more subtle  “consequences” of the faith they profess. Their constitution declares Islam to be the official state religion, thus Sharia law bears great influence on their laws and how they are enforced. According to the international watchdog, ‘Freedom House,’ the country has been defined as “not free” ever since violations of human rights were reported in 2011. As Open Doors pointed out in its 2018 report, “persecutors in Djibouti include government officials, family members, community leaders and some Muslim religious leaders. The government seeks to control society by stifling the basic freedoms of association, religion and expression.”

According to ‘Open Doors,’ a human rights organization that monitors Christian persecution,  the pressure on the life of the Church is so great that the country of Djibouti ranks as the 50th most religiously repressed  state in the world. The report also mentions that “Jihadists and radical Islamic ideas bleed over from volatile surrounding countries”.

The persecuted Christian minority we refer to are mostly Catholics who belong  to the Episcopal See of the Diocese of Djibouti. These souls are our brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. Please support our mission of making their plight known to the world by keeping all of them in your prayers.

Bence Dallos

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