Skip to comments.MAURITANIA: REPRESSION AND SPIRITUAL BONDAGE
Posted on 03/13/2005 10:42:50 AM PST by underlying
ASSIST News Service (ANS) - PO Box 2126, Garden Grove, CA 92842-2126 USA
Visit our web site at: www.assistnews.net -- E-mail: email@example.com
Wednesday, March 9, 2005
MAURITANIA: REPRESSION AND SPIRITUAL BONDAGE
By Elizabeth Kendal
World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission (WEA RLC)
Special to ASSIST News Service
AUSTRALIA (ANS) -- Mauritania, West Africa, is one of the world's poorest countries, although oil is set to flow from mid-2006. Mauritania bridges between the Arab-Berber Moors of North Africa and the black Africans of the sub-Sahara. Sunni Islam has been entrenched for over a thousand years. According to Operation World, just over four thousand (0.16%) of Mauritania's three million population are Christian. They are mostly Catholic ex-patriates, and only about 500 are evangelicals.
The gospel of salvation is severely repressed. According to the US State Department's International Religious Freedom Report 2004 (released September 2004) the constitution establishes Mauritania as an Islamic republic with Islam as the religion of the State and of its citizens. Importing, printing or selling Bibles is banned, as is any literature that undermines, contradicts or threatens Islam. All television and radio are state controlled. All non-Muslim missionary activity is prohibited. Apostasy (leaving Islam) is banned. Sharia (Islamic law) has been enshrined as the law of the land since 1983. Faith in Jesus Christ can be extremely costly.
Tensions are rising. In October 1999 Mauritania became one of only three Arab nations to establish diplomatic relations with Israel. This enraged Mauritania's Islamist forces. Mauritania's President Maaoya Sid'Ahmed Ould Taya has also joined with the US in the 'War on Terror'. In August 2004, he survived a coup attempt he blames on Islamist forces funded by Burkina Faso and Libya. Only a few weeks earlier, Jamaat al-Tawhid al-Islamiya - Omar el-Mukhtar Brigade had posted a threat on the internet that specifically named Mauritania. (The brigade is the military wing of the Islamist organisation led by the notorious Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who heads al-Qaeda's operations in Iraq.) The threat read: 'Our swords will be drawn in the face of anyone who co-operates with the Jews and the Christians. We will strike with an iron fist all the traitors from the Arab governments who co-operate with the Zionists secretly or openly.' However some believe the coup attempt was a fabrication, just to give the president grounds to crack down on known Islamists.
So, on top of the already repressive environment, the political situation is tense, and Mauritania's militant Islamists are angry, zealous and active.
Operation World describes all Mauritanian peoples as 'unreached, in that there are no indigenous churches under indigenous leadership'. The extreme Islamic repression and total lack of religious liberty in Mauritania forces the tiny, persecuted church deep underground. It silences witness and kills off her evangelists, leaders and new believers. It stops God's free gift of salvation being offered there to multitudes of dying people. Mauritanians who are traders, herdsmen or businessmen have opportunities to hear the gospel in other countries. In 1989 a border dispute between Senegal and Mauritania led to race riots in Mauritania that forced thousands of black Mauritanians to flee south for refuge in Senegal, where there is freedom of religion. Still, there are only a handful of Mauritanian Christians worldwide. It looks hopeless, but Mauritania belongs to God (Psalm 47) and Jesus will build his Church... (Matthew 16:18).
PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY FOR:
Elizabeth Kendal is the Principal Researcher and Writer for the World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission (WEA RLC) www.worldevangelical.org/rlc.html. This article was initially written for the WEA RLP(Religious Liberty Prayer) mailing list
Elizabeth can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
** You may republish this story with proper attribution.
Send this story to a friend.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.