Call2Prayer: Digital Media in the MENA region

A few weeks ago we had a privilege of meeting Ayoub, a believer from a Muslim background (BMB) and he shared his inspirational story with us. He grew up in North Africa in a Muslim family and during his teenage years he started to ask questions about the Quran and Islam. These questions went unanswered and the local Imam even forbade him from asking any more. By the time he turned 16 he no longer believed that Quran was a book from God and he spent 10 months as an atheist. However, Ayoub soon started looking for answers, and like all people of his age, he turned straight to the internet. After a year, at the age of 17, he decided to follow Isa after being convicted by the Gospel of Matthew, especially chapters 5,6, and 7.

Many countries in North Africa have strict controls on information and media stopping people being able to access information about other religions. However, restricting the internet is so much harder than traditional media forms. Due to its inconceivable size and evolving nature, restrictions on websites, social media, and apps, are fruitless. In North Africa there are currently 121M internet users which is 50% of the population. In Western Asia (including Middle East) there are 182M users which is 66% of the population. Between 2017 and 2018 there was a 4.3% increase in internet usage in North Africa and a 4% increase in Western Asia (including the Middle East). The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has the largest use of social media in anywhere in the world. 

For many people in MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region, like Ayoub, the internet is the only place where they are able to freely access all information and connect with like-minded people. After two years of being a secret believer, Ayoub used the internet again, but this time to find a community of believers in his country. He arranged to meet someone, but was so scared, he didn’t go. He later re-arranged and met with another believer. This is why we are so passionate about sowing seeds of transformation through media. Through websites, social media, chat rooms and videos we are able to share with people about God’s love and endless grace for all people. People who have questions about Christianity are able to access top-quality content, which is also made by their own people and written in their own language. This is only achievable through digital media. Countries which historically have been closed to Christianity are now being opened up through the power of the internet. 

Today Ayoub is a pastor of a house church of  BMBs. He formed a team of 6 who come from 6 house churches around the country, they are planning to build the online resources and a platform for an increasing number of Muslim background believers to be encouraged and discipled online. They need resources to be trained and equipped to produce materials for their own people. This is where MEM is able to step in and provide a much-needed training in media and spiritual leadership. 

Join us in praying that:

  • The internet would continue to break through into these countries and more people would have access to learn about Christianity.

  • Those who do turn to Jesus don’t feel isolated, but see that there are others like them in their country.

  • Our projects like On Bended Knee and Safe Haven continue to bring hope and resources for BMBs across the region.

  • BMBs who are currently creating media for their people would continue to find strength in the Lord.

  • Ayoub and his core team will have protection as well as resources to develop a strong online community of BMBs in their country.

(For more information on the statistics quoted above, visit: North Africa Digital Statistics.)