Mauritania, North Africa
Political Leader: Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi
Predominant Religions: Islam 99.8%, Christianity 0.2%
Persecution Ranking: 32nd
Number of Terrorist Groups: 3
Acts of Terrorism: 9; Casualties: 40
Percent of Corruption: 69%
% of People in Poverty: 40%
Mauritania is located in the arid Sahel region of West Africa and is about twice the size of France. The country is mostly desert, with the exception of the fertile Senegal River valley in the south and grazing land in the north. The Atlantic Ocean coastline extends about 350 miles (592 km) miles of the country’s border. Approximately one-third of the population (or slightly fewer than one million people) lives in the capital city of Nouakchott.
After one thousand years of Islam as the predominant religion of Mauritania, any hope for change seems unlikely. The government limits freedom of religion in part by prohibiting the distribution of non-Islamic religious materials and the evangelization of Muslims. Because of this, there is a great lack of scripture written in local languages and only a limited amount of Christian media available within Mauritania. Telling people about Jesus is not only illegal, but those who do accept Jesus Christ as their Savior face severe social pressure and are often ostracized from their families. It is an ongoing challenge to gather the small handful of Christian Believers together into strong fellowships. This challenge is compounded by the increase in harassment of national believers and expatriate African churches over the past year. Mauritania ranks number 32 on the Open Doors World Watch List.
Since 2002, a series of devastating natural disasters such as desert locust invasions, severe drought, and flooding have caused repeated food crises. The situation is dire. With the exception of the north bank of the Senegal River, the land is entirely desert. With its drought-prone agriculture and fishing grounds threatened by over-exploitation, Mauritania is pinning its hopes for future prosperity on the exploitation of its offshore oil and natural gas reserves, which began in 2006.
- Pray that God will do only what is possible with His power in the lives of the Mauritanian Christians. Ask Him that they might be courageous and strong of heart, encouraging one another as they form strong fellowships. (Deuteronomy 31:6) And believe and thank the Lord in advance for acting powerfully through the lives of these willing servants.
- Pray that the Lord Himself will do a miracle and destroy the mighty strongholds of Islam. Beseech Him to bind demonic rulings so that they will be overthrown, and that the Mauritanian Christian Church will become a bright light to their nation. Pray that these Christian leaders will stay strong in their faith and be renewed daily by the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Pray that the nation’s oil wealth will be wisely used for the benefit of all citizens. Hunger, illiteracy, and struggle is what some people have ever known, as almost half of the nation’s citizens suffer in poverty and 20% of the people experience unemployment. Pray that God would supernaturally provide for these people of His own creation and who are so precious to Him.
- Pray that the Lord will open the eyes of Mauritania’s leaders like President Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdellahi and Prime Minister Zeine Ould Zeidane. Ask the Lord to change their hearts so that the country could be governed in a wise and biblical manner.
Middle East Concern, Open Doors, Infoplease