OVERVIEW: The country is predominantly Christian, but several tribal groups in the north remain largely unreached, and much of the coastal region is predominantly Muslim. Additionally, in the region known as Greater Somalia in northeastern Kenya, 90 percent of the population is ethnically Somali and fervently Muslim. In these areas, Christian missionaries from other parts of Kenya and converts from Islam are often attacked and killed. The Kenyan constitution grants every citizen freedom of religion, but local governments in resistant areas are led by Muslim officials who do little to protect the rights of believers.
MAJOR RELIGIONS: 78 percent of Kenyans are Christians, including 48 percent evangelicals. However, parts of the country have a Muslim majority with significant Islamist activity and influence.
PERSECUTOR: Islamic extremists are active mostly in the north and east, but their reach extends to Nairobi in the south. In the coastal areas, community members and local governments also persecute Christians.
WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A CHRISTIAN IN KENYA: Christians cannot openly discuss their faith in areas with a Somali majority or areas near the northern border without risking the loss of family, livelihood and community. There is a significant threat of violence against Christian converts in Somali areas. In eastern Kenya, al-Shabab terrorizes Christians, bombing churches and killing believers. In Muslim majority areas along the coast, Christians are socially rejected.
ACCESS TO BIBLES: Bibles are available, but they are expensive and not always available in every dialect.
VOM WORK: VOM supports the widows of Christian men killed in attacks. Our Bible distribution efforts focus on providing Bibles to children and those who speak minority dialects.