BACKGROUND: Djibouti, mainland Africa’s third-smallest nation, is surrounded by Islamist countries but is not itself dominated by extremists. Many non-governmental and foreign aid groups operate out of the country. Though it shares a border with Somalia, there is little to no al-Shabab influence in Djibouti.
MAJOR RELIGIONS: Islam is the official state religion. However, three Christian groups are officially recognized by the government: French Protestant, Roman Catholic and Ethiopian Orthodox.
PERSECUTOR: Muslim converts to Christ may experience government oppression, but most persecution comes from converts’ family or clan and the local Muslim community.
WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A CHRISTIAN IN DJIBOUTI: Christian foreigners are granted religious freedom, but proselytism is discouraged. Muslims who express an interest in Christianity face the risk of persecution from their family and friends, and those who convert are isolated, beaten and sometimes killed for abandoning Islam. The large population of Somalis in Djibouti face extreme danger if they convert to Christianity.
ACCESS TO BIBLES: Bibles are available, but owning a Bible in some communities is extremely risky.
VOM WORK: VOM supports a safe house and a local church leader who is teaching new believers.