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T

he extremist Islamist group Al Shabaab have openly declared Kenyan Christians an enemy to be subjugated, converted or eradicated. When Christian-majority Kenya joined with Somalia in fighting Al Shabaab in 2011, Al Shabaab declared they would attack on Kenyan soil. Islamic State (IS) encouraged this stating, “May Allah hasten the conquest of Kenya for the Soldiers of the Khilafah [Caliphate] in Somalia”.

In December 2019, Al Shabaab killed eight Christians and three other non-Muslims in a bus attack. Between 2014 and 2019, there have been numerous bus attacks claiming over 38 lives. Christian passengers are typically singled out and shot if they refuse to renounce their Christian faith or recite the Islamic creed, which Muslims consider conversion to Islam. Al Shabaab attacks in north-east Kenya have also targeted Christians in towns, villages and at work.

Kenyan Christians are frequently targeted by Al Shabaab

In 2017, Al Shabaab beheaded 13 Christians in two horrific attacks. In a notorious attack in 2015, 148 Christian students were massacred at Garissa University. Militant Muslims, assisted by Al Shabaab, freed Muslim students but singled out Christian students for bloody, execution-style slaughter.

Kenya is over 80% Christian and around 12% Muslim. The coastal regions are predominantly Muslim due to their Arab roots, but there is also a strong Muslim presence in the north-east of Kenya and Christians living there are vulnerable. The violent, radical Islamic group the Muslim Youth Centre (MYC) is based in Mombasa and active in the coastal regions. The MYC, also known as al-Hijra, has links to both Al Qaeda and Al Shabaab.

In 2016, Kenya introduced strict new regulations for religious societies, including the requirement for church leaders to have a theology certificate from a certified institution. Some leaders raised concerns that the rules seemed to be aimed at restricting the Church in Kenya.

Prayer

Pray that violence against Kenyan Christians will end. Ask the Lord to protect Christians in Muslim-majority areas, especially students and travellers. Pray that religious freedoms and equality before the law will be maintained for all Kenyans.