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Kidnapping, Forced Conversion of African Christian Women Alarming: Catholic Charity

Credit: ACN

The number of Christian women and girls kidnapped and forced to change their religion has grown “in the last few years” in a number of African countries, Catholic Pontifical and charity foundation, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) International, has said.

A new ACN report on kidnapping, forced conversion and sexual victimization of Christian women and girls lists Egypt, Mozambique and Nigeria among countries experiencing most religious-based atrocities in the world. 

The leadership of ACN International announced the launch of the fresh report, “Hear Her Cries”, in a Tuesday, November 23 Communiqué, noting that the report will be the first of its kind to focus on the phenomenon of young women who are seized, because of their sex and religion.

The report, the leadership of ACN notes, focuses on a number of countries where Christians are persecuted and provides “case studies from these nations.”

“Research for the report suggested that in the countries under examination, not only are women from minority faith groups particularly susceptible to attack, but often Christian women are targeted most by militants,” the charity foundation says.

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ACN examined religious groups in 196 countries and found that the number of incidents involving girls and women being taken from their families, raped and forced to change their faith has grown tremendously over the last few years.

The Pontifical foundation that reaches out to the people of God in countries experiencing religious persecution and other forms of hardships, highlights insurgency in Nigeria and reports that Christians make up 95 percent of girls held by Islamist extremists in the West African country are Christians.

ACN leadership notes that the new report will be launched during an online Zoom event by ACN United Kingdom on Wednesday, November 24. 

Professor Michelle Clark, who has done research into the kidnapping of Coptic Christian women in Egypt is expected to be one of the speakers at the event; she is to work with ACN head of press of the UK national office, John Pontifex, who co-wrote the report.

The virtual event is to include exclusive video testimony from a woman kidnapped by Nigerian extremist group, Boko Haram.

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The November 24 event that is to be chaired by Baroness Caroline Cox, is expected to provide a platform for the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for freedom of religion or belief (FoRB), Member of Parliament Fiona Bruce of the Conservative Party, who will give a presentation on freedom of religion.