|Last year’s rank||23|
|Population||4 902 000|
Mauritania does not allow freedom of religion; it is illegal to leave Islam and follow another faith. Converts from Islam to Christianity face very severe pressure from their communities, perceived as bringing shame on the family and likely to be shunned and physically abused. If they make their faith public, Christians can be accused of apostasy in a religious court, with severe consequences, or charged by the authorities with terrorism or cyber-crime offences. Christians have been detained and prosecuted for ‘undermining national security by insulting Islam and threatening Mauritania’s sacred principles’.
It is very difficult for Christians to meet or worship together, and almost impossible for believers who have converted from Islam. Even foreign nationals (such as aid workers or migrants) holding Christian meetings could be seen as evangelising to local Muslims – for which they can be prosecuted.
Meanwhile, violent Islamic extremist groups, including a branch of al-Qaeda, are active in the eastern border regions of the country, posing a danger to any Christians discovered there.
How does Open Doors support our family in Mauritania?
Open Doors works with local partners and churches in North Africa to provide leadership training, discipleship, livelihood support, Bibles and pastoral care.