|Last year’s rank||33|
|Population||26 084 000|
Niger is a Muslim-majority nation and Islam is regarded as being part of Nigerien ethnicity. Conversion from Islam to any religion is considered a betrayal, and converts to Christianity face hostility from their family and community. They may be rejected by their families, chased out of the family home or put under house arrest. Many converts are denied their inheritance rights for leaving Islam.
The presence of militant groups such as Boko Haram, Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP) and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), remains a constant threat both to the state authorities and Christians in the country. In border areas under Islamist control, militant groups are known to use violence against Christians meeting publicly, so Christian meet covertly.
Christians are rarely able to secure employment within local government services and are frequently denied promotion. Christians have occasionally been hindered from gathering for meetings and the legal process for registering churches is very long and difficult. The law also lacks adequate protection for Christian parents. In custody battles, the Christian parent usually loses, and the trend indicates preferential treatment towards Muslim parents.
“I faced a lot of challenges, and my siblings and relatives showed me hatred. They kept asking: ‘Why did you accept this false teaching?’ But they are the ones living in false teachings because I have accepted the grace of God.”
Mariama is a Christian from a Muslim background.
How does Open Doors support our family in Niger?
Open Doors works through partners in Niger to strengthen persecuted Christians through economic empowerment programmes, leadership and discipleship training, persecution survival training and pastoral care for new believers.