During February we prayed concerning --

Prayer February 25, 2009

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | No. 518 | Wed 25 Feb 2009 

WELCOME to the 14 intercessors who have joined the list this month. 

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'Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.' (Psalm 20:7 ESV) 

IRAQ, where provincial council elections were about to change the  Arab/Kurd power equation in Nineveh Province, thus seriously  escalating tensions in Mosul and across Nineveh, home to most of  Iraq's Christian remnant.  

UPDATE: TENSIONS HIGH IN NINEVEH    As was expected, the Sunni  Arabs defeated the incumbent Kurds in the elections and will now  take power in Nineveh. Last weekend (21 & 22 February) the Iraqi  military launched Operation New Hope (Arab units with US  assistance) in an effort to control the situation in Mosul. A  reported 74 'terrorists' were arrested. Kurdish Prime Minister  Nechirvan Barzani warns that if the situation between Kurds and  Arabs is not resolved prior to the departure date for US troops  from Iraq 'it will be war between both sides'. However, many  observers believe war could be imminent. There are reports of  escalating clashes between Arab Iraqi army units and Kurdish  peshmerga (armed) forces. A long violent battle for northern  Iraq (see RLP 468) may be just beginning. Pray for the remnant  Church in northern Iraq.   

ZIMBABWE, where a corrupt and violent pro-Mugabe faction within  the Harare diocese of the Anglican Church continues to threaten  mainline Anglicans and deprive them of their places of worship.   

THE LORD'S RESISTANCE ARMY (LRA), which is a brutal, blasphemous, Ugandan terrorist militia, has been led for over 20 years by spirit medium Joseph Kony. Since late 2008 the LRA has been targeting civilians and churches in Southern Sudan and north-eastern Congo. 

UPDATE: LRA SUPPORT FROM KHARTOUM?         There are claims the  LRA is receiving military support from Khartoum, Sudan. The  Sudan Tribune has reported that Ambororo nomads have been seen  delivering arms to the LRA. (The Ambororo are an armed nomadic  people from Northern Sudan who have been menacing Western  Equatoria State in Southern Sudan ever since the 2005 peace deal  was signed.) The deputy governor of Western Equatoria, Col.  Joseph Ngere, told the BBC that, although he did not have firm  proof, he believed that elements in the Sudanese government in  Khartoum were supporting the LRA, just as they had in the past.  Please pray for God to sever all the supply-lines that maintain  the LRA's military capabilities. Pray also for defections,  rescues and an end to Kony's power. And please pray for the  suffering Church.   

ALSO IN FEBRUARY                                                   

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* BAUCHI, NTH NIGERIA: RELIGIOUS VIOLENCE FLARES 

On Friday 20 February in Bauchi, northern Nigeria, poor communication resulted in two rival Muslim sects arriving at the same time to worship in the mosque they share. A clash ensued and the mosque was set ablaze. Meanwhile the church opposite was torched when it refused to let the overflow of Muslims use its car park. A rumour that Christians had torched the mosque ignited religious violence that spread like wildfire. The violence left at least 11 dead and dozens wounded, with 14 churches, eight vicarages, one mosque and numerous Christian homes razed. Some 1500 -- mostly Christians -- were displaced, with many fleeing into neighbouring Jos. Violence is continuing despite the military presence and city-wide curfew. Nigeria's northern states are under Sharia Law, in violation of the constitution. That heightens Islamic zeal and belligerence, religious tension and persecution of the Church. Please pray for the Church in northern Nigeria.  

* SOMALIA: NUNS RELEASED; STH SOMALIA UNDER AL-SHABAAB 

Caterina Giraudo (67) and Maria Teresa Oliviero (61) are two Italian nuns who have been serving the Lord in Kenya for more than 30 years. In RLP 504 (12 Nov 08) we prayed for the two nuns after they were kidnapped at gunpoint and taken into lawless, Islamist-controlled southern Somalia. Now we thank God for his mercy as the two nuns have arrived back in Kenya after their 19 February release in Mogadishu. Please pray for their full recovery, as they are traumatised and fatigued and their health has deteriorated. 

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When Ethiopia withdrew its forces from Somalia in late January, al-Shabaab terrorists/jihadists moved quickly to fill the void. Al-Shabaab now controls all of southern Somalia except Mogadishu, where it is waging a terrorist jihad. This al-Qaeda-linked jihadi militia is operating terrorist training camps for local and foreign mujahideen, including vulnerable impressionable Somali Diaspora youths with foreign passports. Somalia is fast becoming what Afghanistan was in the 1990s: a safe haven and base for international Islamic terrorism. Please pray.  

* JIHAD IN AFGHANISTAN & NORTH WEST FRONTIER PROVINCE (NWFP), PAKISTAN 

The Pakistani government has been ceding territory to the Taliban since 2004. Swat Valley -- once Pakistan's most popular tourist destination -- has been under Taliban control since 2007. Last week the Pakistani government gave up the battle for Swat and officially ceded the district to the Taliban. Throughout past years, tribal and power issues have prevented various al-Qaeda and Taliban-aligned groups from uniting as a single force. However, at the combined behest of Osama bin Laden, Mullah Omar and the Afghan resistance, an alliance has been forged in recent days that brings the three main Pakistani Taliban groups together as one force: the Council of United Mujahideen. NATO's main supply-line from Peshawar (NWFP, Pakistan) to Kabul (Afghanistan) via the Khyber Pass has already been crippled. As the winter ice thaws the Taliban-al-Qaeda alliance is now snapping at the heels of Peshawar and Kabul. We are about to witness a major Spring Offensive that could have a vast impact on global and regional religious liberty and Christian security. Please pray.

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 We usually provide a summary to use in news-sheets unable to    run the whole of an RLP. As a summary is not practicable with    this monthly update posting we suggest one or more of the above    items be used instead.  

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The WEA Religious Liberty Commission sponsors this RL Prayer List to help individuals and groups pray specifically and regularly for religious liberty issues, and in particular to uphold the Church where it is suffering persecution.  

RL Prayer is moderated by Ron Clough, a commissionerof the WEA RLC and convenor of the Australian EA RLC.Elizabeth Kendal researched and authored this message.