A new report from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom warns of increasing persecution in Burkina Faso. A factsheet released Friday calls for continued support from the U.S. government to protect religious liberty.
“[The] U.S. government has put a great emphasis on religious freedom,” Voice of the Martyrs Canada spokesman Greg Musselman says.
“I appreciate what I’m seeing: [a report] that is drawing attention to a country like Burkina Faso – which has been somewhat ignored, even as the violence has continued to rise.”
Muslim extremists crept into Burkina Faso from neighboring Mali and Niger in recent years. As described here, President Kabore’s administration has struggled to contain the growing threat:
Despite a genuine desire by the Burkinabe government to protect its citizens’ rights to freedom of religion and belief, the federal government is overwhelmed by security crises. Recent tensions between competing jihadist groups in the region could further exacerbate these trends, as could further human rights abuses and lack of accountability for government-supported security forces.
Radicals don’t try to hide their intent. “It is very blatant – the killing and the kidnapping. They’re using violence against [people] who don’t go along with their version of extreme jihadism,” Musselman says.
“Since 2016, there has been a 1,000-percent increase in violent events, and a lot of those have been against Christians and Muslims.”
While important, religious intolerance is not the only concern. Nearly three million people need humanitarian assistance, according to UN figures last updated in June.
“There is an incredible rise [of] people now being displaced, and that just puts pressure on the worldwide community in the middle of a pandemic,” Musselman notes.
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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Katey Hearth
CALL TO ACTION
- Ask the Lord to protect and encourage His followers in Burkina Faso.
- Pray for wisdom for VOM Canada leaders as they assess partner needs and decide the best way to respond.