Christian Broadcaster In Ivory Coast Amid Islamic Violence
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
(Worthy News) – Global Christian broadcaster Trans World Radio (TWR) launches a radio station “of hope” in the capital of Ivory Coast in response to mounting Islamic extremism and deadly diseases.
TWR President Lauren Libby told Worthy News that the West African nation is “now seeing frequent violent clashes between the dominant Muslims and minority Christians.”
He said the “extremist group al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb” has been conducting raids into the country, also known as Côte d’Ivoire, from neighboring Burkina Faso.
Ivory Coast “was once a model for cooperation among people of different faiths. Sadly, that is no longer true. Fear has spread like a toxic fog over the land,” he added.
Amid an atmosphere of hatred fueled by Islamic extremism, family members in mainly Muslim-majority areas target Christian converts who abandon Islam, Christians confirmed.
A prayer request monitored by Worthy News mentioned the case of Mariam, a mother who recently became a Christian. Meriam accepted Christ in her life after her daughter, a former Muslim, was beaten to death by a family member for her new-found Christian faith, say sources familiar with the case.
The faith of her daughter “struck Mariam’s heart. She, too, converted to Christ,” Christians supporting her added. “And again, her family reacted with anger and even death threats because she brought more shame to them.”
Mariam’s brother had beaten her daughter to death as he feared her Christian conversion
would obstruct his plans to become an imam, well-informed Christians said.
Mariam, identified by one name amid security concerns, was brought to safety but Christians supporting her asked “for urgent prayer” for her and her pastor.
Worthy News couldn’t confirm the prayer request independently, but it seemed consistent with other reports of violence. Yet, “violent extremism is only one of many problems this tiny country is facing. HIV and AIDS are the highest here of any country in West Africa, and life-threatening diseases are common,” stressed TWR’s Libby.
Additionally, the well-informed TWR chief noted that “infant mortality is unacceptably high.”
Libby also stressed that the COVID-19 pandemic added to hardship Christians and other citizens.
He suggested the pandemic was partly due to “low vaccination rates,” though there are debates among Christians about the effectiveness of the jabs for healthy people.
With the nation’s people “in desperate need of good news,” non-profit TWR is currently raising money for a new FM frequency station in the capital Yamoussoukro, he said.
“Our projected cost to begin broadcasting is $108,015, which will cover the equipment we need and incidental expenses.“
Radio remains the most popular medium in Ivory Coast, independent observers say. Libby said the “message of God’s redemptive power is needed more right now, and we have a plan to deliver it.”
He noted that from the capital, “our radio ministry will reach nearly half a million people with life-changing programming. And for their sake, we must launch this station as soon as we can.”
TWR’s attempt to ease tensions in the nation of 28 million with Christian programming comes amid mounting political pressure on President Alassane Ouattara, in power for over a decade.
His predecessor, Laurent Gbagbo, was forcibly removed from office after refusing to accept Ouattara’s internationally recognized victory in the November 2010 presidential election.
But Ouattara’s re-election last year was more controversial, with the opposition boycotting the poll in protest at what they called an unconstitutional third term.
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