Africa: Christians outnumber Muslims

At a conference in Morocco, Italian sociologist, Massimo Introvigne, revealed that African practicing Catholics outnumber their European counterparts

Pope Benedict XVI greeted by a Cameroonian nun upon his arrival at the airport in Yaounde March 17, 2009. Photo Credit: REUTERS

From Vatican Insider

The latest figures reveal that Christianity has become the African continent’s number one religion, clearly surpassing Islam. This is according to the findings of a study presented today during the course of a conference organised by CESNUR (Center for Studies on New Religions) at El Jadida University in Morocco. The figures revealed at the conference which was attended by seventy speakers from 18 countries, today, Christians account for 46, 53% of the African population compared to the 40, 46 % represented by Muslims and the 11, 8% represented by traditional African religions.

The study states that among African countries, 31 have Christian majorities, 21 have Muslim majorities and 6 have populations which adhere mostly to traditional African religions. In 1900 Christians in Africa totalled ten million; in 2012 this number reached five hundred million. In 1900 only 2% of Christians in the world were African; today, this figure has risen to 20%. In ten years time they will be the largest continental bloc within Christianity, outdoing Europe and the Americas. “This data is still not widely known – stated sociologist Massimo Introvigne, CESNUR’s founder – but they have a profound historical, cultural and political significance. There are now more practicing Christians in Africa than in Europe. In the long run, this will not only change Africa but Christianity as well as John Paul II had intuited. His attention to Africa was continued by Benedict XVI who has already visited the continent twice.”

“Of course, not everyone is happy about this development,” Introvigne added. The sociologist claims that this growth in the number of Christians across the African continent could be one of the causes of certain attacks. “Some Islamic ultra-fundamentalists consider it scandalous that there are more Christians than Muslims in Africa and proceed to persecute and kill Christians in countries such as Nigeria, Mali, Somalia and Kenya. The way the ultra-fundamentalists see it, today, the battle which will determine whether the world will be Muslim or Christian is being fought in Africa. And that Islam is losing. This is why they are responding with bombs.”

Speaking at the Rimini Meeting last August, Ignatius Kaigama, the Archbishop of Jos, in Nigeria, had said: “Most Muslims and Christians in Northern Nigeria would like to live in peace and be good neighbours, despite all the tensions that exist. Mixed Muslim and Christian families can be found in both Southern and Northern Nigeria. But it is no secret that some Muslim leaders would like to “immerse the Loran in the Atlantic sea”: they believe Islam should be the country’s dominant religion, as was demonstrated with the introduction of Sharia law in some parts of the North. Nothing can be said against what can be defined as a legitimate aspiration: every religion would like to expand and boost the number of its followers. But this must be done in a peaceful and civil manner, through testimony.”

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Africa: Christians outnumber Muslims

  1. kathleen says:

    “[E]very religion would like to expand and boost the number of its followers. But this must be done in a peaceful and civil manner, through testimony.”

    IOW, not through the ‘sword’, coercion and forced conversions, which was – and still is – quite often the methods of Islam. (Have you read some of the recent reports on these matters from ‘Aid to the Church in Need’? They are truly shocking!)

    Certainly the strength of the Church in the near future seems to be swinging towards Africa. Europe and the US have grown far too lax and secular. I hope the zeal and authenticity of these lovely African people can give us westerners a bit of a shaking up! Whereas we used to send missionaries to Africa, the tables are starting to turn, and they are now sending priests and religious to our countries.
    In my mother’s old parish there is a very sweet Nigerian priest.


  2. golden chersonnese says:

    Kathleen, I was looking for an excuse to post this link before it gets taken off. Thanks.

    It’s the video of the ordination of 4 Anglican priests for the new personal Australian Ordinariate (of Our Lady of the Southern Cross).

    There’s an African deacon too among the 4 ordinands for the Melbourne archdiocese ordained on the same day, 8 September 2012, the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

    Lovely shots of the Cathedral and Cradinal Pel is there too. Two hours of viewing!


  3. toadspittle says:

    Kathleen is right. Send missionaries there again. Fight hunger on the Black Continent.


  4. golden chersonnese says:

    In my mother’s old parish there is a very sweet Nigerian priest.

    In the antipodes to my south it is very much the same, Kathleen. There are a number of priests from Africa and India, as you would have seen in the video above.

    Of course, liberals don’t like it all, calling it a “band-aid”, and what they say can verge sometimes on racism. What they mean, of course, is that it is mucking up their plans for the ordination of married men and then women Anglican style.

    Here in the chersonese, foreign priests were either expelled by the Muslim-led government, went home to retire or are quite ancient but remained here. They were mainly Frenchman from the Society of Foreign Missions of Paris (MEP) or Mill Hill Fathers in the Borneo states.


  5. kathleen says:

    Thanks Golden, and nice to see you here again. Your comments are always so interesting and enriching. I look forward to watching your video link when I return from Holy Mass.
    Our Sunday starts as yours draws to a close. How wonderful the internet is, linking us together from all over the globe! 🙂


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s