CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION STATUS
Almost all of Mauritania’s 3.6 million population are Sunni Muslims, and Islam is officially the country’s sole religion. There are only tiny numbers of Christians and Jews, most of them foreigners. Only Muslims may be citizens, and converts from Islam lose their citizenship. Apostasy is legally punishable by death.
Nobody may promote a religion other than Islam, and the public expression of any other is banned. Even group meetings in private homes must be pre-approved by the interior ministry.
Mauritania is one of the world’s least developed countries; the literacy rate is only 52%, and 31% of Mauritanians live below the poverty line. Child marriage and forced marriage are also common in this arid state.
Slavery is entrenched in Mauritanian society, and more than 1 in every 100 Mauritanians remain enslaved today. There are ongoing tensions between Arabs, Arabic-speaking descendants of slaves, and members of sub-Saharan ethnic groups.
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