A growing Islamic insurgency movement in Mozambique threatens to exterminate the Christian population as violence continues to increase across the African continent, according to watch group Open Doors USA.
For the first time, Mozambique has been added to Open Door’s World Watch List as the previously peaceful and stable region is seeing a “fresh wave of violence” that has taken a “devastating” toll on the nation’s Christians, the organization’s director for communications, Amy Lamb, told the Christian Post.
And according to a recent report from Save the Children, Plan International, and World Vision, children are disproportionately impacted by the crisis, with children as young as 12 years old having been beheaded.
The southern African nation’s roughly 17 million Christians make up over 50 percent of the nation, which is seeing what Lamb described as one of the world’s fastest-growing evangelical populations. However, she says, this is why they are “seeing jihadist groups, including those who are affiliated with the Islamic State, with al Shabab, with Boko Haram, al Qaeda” attacking Christians.
“It’s just organizing together in order to expand their territories throughout the African continent, and their goal is really to eradicate Christianity from this territory and, unfortunately, in some ways, it’s working,” she explained.
Last week, the 16-member Southern African Development Community approved a plan to send troops to Mozambique to aid in the government’s efforts to combat the rising insurgency movement. However, the plan did not specify how many troops would be deployed and when, nor did it specify what their role in fighting the militant groups would be.
And when it comes to the nation’s vulnerable Christian population, the government can be less than sympathetic, according to Lamb.
“There is a great deal of instability, and there can even be some anti-Christian antipathy at the government level,” she explained. “So as far as the government of Mozambique, in some ways it’s not helping because there are some of those antipathies even at the highest level, so when it’s pervasive at the lower level, it’s combining into a perfect storm.”
Lamb described the growing Islamic insurgency movement across sub-Saharan Africa, which has open aims at creating a caliphate state, as “the greatest wave of Islamic violence” in the modern age, emphasizing that the international community should be gravely concerned.
Across the African continent, violence against Christians and anyone else deemed a threat to the goal of establishing an Islamic state is rising to unprecedented levels, yet the international community has been too slow to respond.
While there is little doubt that sufficient military aid could quickly address this problem, at least for the short term, it would by no means provide an easy fix.
It is not enough to simply advocate for aid. The Islamic insurgency movement may have countless iterations in the form of various terror groups, but it all stems from the same radical ideology that openly seeks to destroy anything that stands in its way — most particularly those of the Christian faith and those who value pluralism and liberalism.
No Western nation can profess to truly value religious freedom and democracy if they won’t even acknowledge this crisis. And the more time spent skirting around the core values behind this rising insurgency movement, the more time this movement has to gain power and inflict suffering and death.
This is the most extreme form of spiritual warfare — and it must be combated first by turning our eyes to the One who made us. Church, pray for our African brothers and sisters as they face devastating persecution.