January 22, 2015
NIGER – Rioters in Niger have destroyed at least 45 churches in protest at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo’s depiction of Islam’s prophet Mohammed. Estimates vary but some sources suggest the number of churches burned down at the weekend could be more than 70. Numerous Christian homes, schools and organisations, including a church-run orphanage, were also reportedly destroyed. At least ten people were killed in rioting which spread to towns across Niger, although it was focused around the capital Niamey and the southern city of Zinder. Similar protests have been held in several other nations including Algeria, Senegal, Pakistan, Somalia and Sudan. Many in Niger’s small Christian community have fled their homes and are said to be very fearful. Broadcasts of extremist sermons promoting jihad against Christians are regularly played over the loudspeakers of mosques in Niger. The nation is the birthplace of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau. (Sources: BBC, ICC, World Watch Monitor) •Pray that Christians in Niger would know the peace of God at this time and that God would provide them with new venues for worship. •Pray too that God will protect them and strengthen their faith.