Brunei

World Watch ranking: 44
Map thumbnail
Leader
Sultan Sir Hassanal Bolkiah

How many Christians?
54,200 (12%)

Main threats
  • Islamic oppression
  • Dictatorial paranoia 

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How many Christians are there in Brunei?

There are around 54,200 Christians in Brunei – just 12% of the country’s population.

How are Christians persecuted in Brunei?

All Bruneian Christians face some level of discrimination, though converts are particular targets for pressure from family, community and government.

As Sharia (Islamic law) continues to be implemented in Brunei, Christians face ongoing restrictions on how they can live out their faith in public. Under these laws, conversion from Islam is illegal, and pressure is intense for anyone who follows Jesus. They can be disowned by families, separated from their children, forcibly married to a Muslim or made to attend Islamic rehabilitation programmes.

Brunei has strict guidelines about any non-Islamic worship. Public Christmas celebrations are banned – Christians can only celebrate Christmas in places where Muslims cannot see them. Bibles are heavily controlled, and the importing of them is rarely allowed outside of personal use. Church activities are monitored, and any sharing of faith with Muslims is illegal. Many Protestant churches cannot register as ‘churches’ and instead are forced to register as businesses or secular organisations that submit financial and organisational reports to the government each year. 

Meet 'Lina'

“I was so frightened. These were my friends. I had never seen them that angry before.” Lina, a Christian student

What’s life like for Christians in Brunei?

It’s not illegal to be a Christian in Brunei – as long as you’re from a Christian family. Lina* grew up in a Christian home, but it was only when she went to university that she discovered that living out her faith would be a problem.

“In my accommodation, my roommates force me to wear hijab when we go out even though they know that I am a Christian,” Lina says. “I’m forced to dress like them too. I’m allowed to wear anything I want when I’m out of the hostel, but peer-pressure is real. So, I wear my hijab even when I’m out of the hostel and I even hide my cross necklace. If my roommates see it, they’ll accuse me of spreading the gospel.

“One day, I was sitting in a corner by myself reading the Bible, when a few girls approached me asking why I brought a Bible to school,” she remembers. “They yelled, ‘Leave that book at home!’ I was so frightened. These were my friends. I had never seen them that angry before.”

Lina’s fear of her roommates’ response means she no longer reads the Bible in public. “I remember being cornered in my dorm,” she says. “All the girls surrounding me and questioning me about my Bible. I was scared; scared to offend them, scared to make a mistake.” She now only reads the Bible on her phone.

Thankfully, local Open Doors partners have been able to encourage Lina through a youth camp for Bruneian Christians.

*Name changed for security reasons

How can I help Christians in Brunei?

Please keep praying for your brothers and sisters in Brunei. Your gifts and prayers make an enormous difference to those following Jesus no matter the cost.

Open Doors raises prayer support for persecuted believers in Brunei.

please pray

Dear God, we pray for Christians in Brunei who struggle with discrimination and persecution because they worship You. Please bless them and give them a sense of Your peace today. Strengthen and encourage Christians in the country, along with their churches. Bring courage to Your people to stand for You despite the pressure. And please grant more freedom to our brothers and sisters in Brunei. We ask this in Jesus’ holy name, Amen.

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