Part 1. Religious Liberty (RL) Trends 2006-2007: Introduction

General February 5, 2007
As noted in the January 2006 WEA RLC News & Analysis posting "Religious
Liberty from 2005-2006" the great global trend of this age is the trend
toward openness. This unstoppable, irreversible global trend, brought on by
advancements in information and communications technologies, brings with it
a global demand for liberty - people with information inevitably will
demand the right to make choices. Dictators and religious ideologies that
are threatened by liberty are resisting openness and rejecting liberty.

For a brief summary of this struggle for openness and liberty, please see
the Global Overview on WEA's International Day of Prayer (IDOP) for the
Persecuted Church 2006 website < http://www.idop.org/overview.html > .

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This annual Religious Liberty Trends posting will focus on three trends that
emerged in 2006 which threaten to deeply and painfully impact Christians
through 2007:

* the dramatic escalation in persecution of the Church across India;

* the Shiite ascendancy;

* the front-lines opening up for Islamic imperialists.

Regarding the first trend - escalating persecution in India - while the
present situation is serious enough, even more serious is the fact that
India's Hindutva (Hindu nationalist) forces are advancing, virtually
unchallenged, towards the successful implementation of their strategy to
turn India into a fascist Hindu State where religious repression and
persecution levels will be equal to the world's worst.

The second trend - the Shiite ascendancy - has triggered a Sunni backlash
whereby the Sunnis are seeking to counter the Shiite/Iranian threat to their
regional hegemony by escalating their virulently anti-Shiite Wahhabist
doctrine, which also happens to be virulently anti-Semitic and
anti-Christian. In an effort to combat the Sunni backlash, Shiites are
seeking to unite Muslims in a collective struggle against their common foes:
Jews, Israel, Christians, the West, secularists, and all other infidels and
apostates. A universal Sunni vs Shiite war would be the beginning of the end
of Islam, but it would also consequentially be devastating in the short and
medium term for Jews and Christians everywhere, but in particular those
living in the Middle East.

Regarding the third trend, religious rhetoric and tension escalated
dramatically during 2006 in two regions that are ripe for Islamic
imperialist conflict: the Horn of Africa (HOA) and the Balkans. Islamic
imperialist rhetoric erupted into conflict in the HOA during 2006 and, while
the Islamists were eventually routed, al Qaeda is calling for an Iraq-style
insurgency. Already a terrorism insurgency is commencing in Mogadishu.
Muslim unrest and persecution of Christians are destined to escalate in
southern Somalia and in the Muslim dominated regions of Ethiopia
(particularly Ogaden) and Kenya. Eritrea supports the Islamists in order to
fight a proxy war against historic rival Ethiopia, and during 2006 Eritrea
began persecuting Orthodox believers along with Protestants. As tensions
with Ethiopia increase so too may Eritrea's persecution of its Orthodox
Church. Meanwhile the Islamic imperialist rhetoric and sentiment emanating
from Bosnia through 2006, as well as the imminent United Nations Security
Council debate on the status of Kosovo, make the Balkans extremely
vulnerable to a return to conflict should the threatening Islamic
imperialist rhetoric erupt into action (jihad) or provoke a pre-emptive
response.

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Each of these trends will be covered in separate consecutive postings.

The series will be as follows:

1. RELIGIOUS LIBERTY (RL) TRENDS 2006-2007 (Introduction)
2. RL TREND - INDIA: HINDUTVA'S ADVANCE
3. RL TREND - SHIITE ASCENDANCY
4. RL TREND - ISLAMIC IMPERIALISM: SOMALIA, BOSNIA, KOSOVO

The times are tumultuous, but the promises of God stand firm.

"Behold, the days are coming", declares the Lord, "when the plowman shall
overtake the reaper and the treader of grapes him who sows the seed; the
mountains shall drip with sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it."
Amos 9:13 (ESV)

"And behold, I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Jesus:
Matthew 28:20 (ESV)

Welcome to 2007

Elizabeth Kendal
[email protected]

"I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God's
power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised
Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God's right
hand in the heavenly realms. Now he is far above any ruler or authority or
power or leader or anything else - not only in this world but also in the
world to come. God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has
made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church
is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things
everywhere with himself." Ephesians 1:19-23 (NLT)

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