The Manya People

-The Manya (or Mandingo) ethnic group lives primarily in Lofa County in the northwest corner of Liberia and across the border in Guinea.

-They number approximately 100,000 people in both countries.

- The Manya are a branch of the larger Mande group which has over eight million people and is spread across West Africa.

- Today the Manya are nearly 99% Muslim, although the majority only embraced Islam in the last 75 years.

- The Manya live alongside another ethnic group called the Loma, who practice African Traditional Religion with a Christian minority.

- The version of Islam practiced by the Manya is generally tolerant and peaceful. The Mandingo do however occasionally come into conflict with their Loma neighbors over land issues. 

-Many Mandingo mix animistic elements into their faith such as wearing charms to protect against evil spirits.

- Very few Manya Muslims are able to read and understand the Qur'an for themselves. They are more concerned about the sounds of the Arabic words than the meaning behind them.

-Ethnic tensions, prejudice or a general sense of apathy have prevented Liberian Christians of other ethnic groups from reaching out to Manya with the message of the gospel.

- SIM missionaries worked with the Manya for several years  before the war, but saw little fruit.

-Today, the Manya are more open than ever to the Gospel.