Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | No. 518 | Wed 25 Feb 2009
WELCOME to the 14 intercessors who have joined the list this month.
'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
* 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.
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.
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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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.