Rome Newsroom, Apr 20, 2021 / 04:20 am America/Denver (CNA).
Aid to the Church in Need published a religious freedom report Tuesday documenting a “dramatic increase” in the presence of jihadist groups, some aligned with the Islamic State, in Sub-Saharan and Eastern Africa.
“Over the last two years, jihadist groups have consolidated their presence in Sub-Saharan Africa and the region has become a haven for over two dozen actively operating -- and increasingly cooperating -- groups in 14 countries, including affiliates of the Islamic State and al-Qaeda,” Marcela Szymanski wrote in the report published April 20.
“The development of these affiliates has occurred within an alarmingly short timeframe, and the pattern is familiar. Attacks by local criminal gangs, spurred on by Salafi jihadist preachers, progress from the sporadic and arbitrary to the ideological and targeted.”
The pontifical foundation’s 2021 Report on Religious Freedom in the World found that “grave violations of religious freedom” occurred in one in three of the world’s 196 countries between 2018 and 2020.
Persecution based on faith worsened particularly in Nigeria, Mozambique, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Mali, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and other African countries.