Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | No. 431 | Wed 30 May 2007
WELCOME to the 29 intercessors who have joined the list this month.
DURING MAY WE PRAYED FOR -
TURKEY, where three Protestants were brutally martyred by Islamic
nationalist youths in Malatya. We prayed especially about the
'spiritual earthquake' that subsequently shook a significant part
of the population.
* UPDATE: TURKEY AND REGIONAL INSECURITY | A suicide bombing at an
Ankara shopping centre on 22 May left six dead and over 100
wounded. Turkey's pro-Islam government accused primarily the PKK
(a militant Kurdish separatist terror group) even though the PKK
has not committed a suicide bombing for more than eight years,
did not conduct suicide bombings against civilians, and has not
claimed responsibility (Stratfor Intelligence). Turkey is now
considering an incursion to rout PKK bases and Kurdish
nationalists in North Iraq. A referendum is due in North Iraq
later this year to determine whether the oil-rich, multi-ethnic
city of Kirkuk is to be part of autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan,
something Turkey strongly opposes. The situation is explosive.
Please pray for God to protect and strengthen the Church across
the region, especially Kurdish Christians in eastern Turkey and
North Iraq, and Iraq's Assyrian Christians, multitudes of whom
have fled to North Iraq to escape the fighting and religious
purge in Baghdad.
IRAQ & GAZA, where amidst horrendous insecurity al-Qaeda militants
are campaigning at purging all that is 'non-Islamic'.
* UPDATE - IRAQI CHRISTIANS BEING PURGED | Some 300 Christian
families have reportedly fled the Islamic purge of the al-Dora
district of Baghdad. Most are now displaced in North Iraq which
is becoming increasingly insecure, especially with the
approaching Kirkuk referendum which will determine whether
oil-rich Kirkuk is controlled by Kurds or Arabs. Baghdad's St
George's Assyrian Church, bombed in October 2004, has now been
torched - the 27th church to be destroyed by Muslims since the
war began. In the early 1950s the Jews - about one-third of
Baghdadis and mostly professionals - were purged. Now the
Christians are being purged and unless something is done, 2000
years of Christianity and 5000 years of Assyrian presence will
come to a tragic end.
PAKISTAN, where Islamisation is advancing and persecution of
Christians is escalating, with some Christians even having been
ordered to convert to Islam, flee or die.
* UPDATE: THREATS CONTINUE | The leader of Pakistan's largest
opposition party, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, has
publicly demanded that the government of President Musharraf
protect the country's minority Christian population. Whilst many
Christians in Charsadda, North West Frontier Province, defied
militants and refused to flee or convert despite threats of
death, they have been further unsettled by threatening graffiti
of the 'Taliban Detonation Department' on a wall facing one of
the town's two churches. Despite their fear, the Christians of
Charsadda gathered together on 26 May to pray for peace and
INDIA, where Hindu militants have become so bold they now commit
their acts of persecution in front of television cameras. The
broadcasts, which turn criminals into Hindutva celebrities,
terrorise the Christians.
* UPDATE: PROTEST AT GOVERNMENT SILENCE | On 29 May, more than
4000 Christians, Dalits and human rights activists rallied at
10am in New Delhi near the parliament to protest government
inaction over escalating violent persecution of Christians across
the country. The police claimed they 'arrested' the 4000 by
herding them into the police station. John Dayal, Secretary
General, All India Christian Council said, 'It was incredible to
see Catholic nuns, Protestant pastors, civil society activists
and more, singing Christian songs of liberation within the police
station.' The crowd dispersed at 2.15pm after an official
announced there were not enough jails to hold such a huge number.
Please continue to pray for India.
OTHER CASES DURING MAY
* EGYPT: COPTS TERRORISED AND SUBJUGATED
The Copts are the indigenous peoples of Egypt, descended from the
Pharaohs. They have been Christian for nearly 2000 years and are
the surviving remnant of Arab and Ottoman Islamic conquests. As
Islamic radicalisation and zeal have grown, violent persecution and
subjugation of the Christian Copts has intensified. On Friday 11
May, Muslims in the village of Bimha, some 70km south of Cairo,
'prayed' in their mosques before unleashing a violent pogrom
against their Christian neighbours, with the local police joining
in. Thirty-six homes and seven shops of Christians were looted and
torched and ten Copts were hospitalised. The believers' solitary,
partially-built church was attacked. Civic authorities subsequently
imposed a 'reconciliation' that involved the Copts agreeing to not
press any charges. In reality it was an agreement designed to
pacify the Muslims. This terror, subjugation, injustice and
impunity denotes a tenuous future.
* VIETNAM: RELIGIOUS LIBERTY ADVOCATE IMPRISONED
RLP 420 (14 Mar 2007) requested prayer for Vietnamese human rights
lawyer, religious liberty advocate and Christian, Nguyen van Dai
(35). On 11 May, Dai and his female colleague Le thi Cong Nhan (27)
were convicted of propagandising against the state of Vietnam by
(amongst other things) compiling and sharing 'evidence of Viet
Nam's suppression of the Protestant religion'. Dai was sentenced to
five years in prison followed by four years' house arrest, while
Nhan received four years in prison and three years' house arrest.
Beforehand the media ran a demonisation campaign against Dai,
attacking his integrity and accusing him of links to 'terrorists'.
The day after the trial they quoted a few local pro-government
Christian leaders prepared to publicly condemn Dai for his
activities challenging the government (Communist Party of Vietnam).
Lawyers Dai and Nhan, and the Church in Vietnam, need our prayers.
>From Habakkuk's complaint: 'Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrong? Destruction and violence are before me;
there is strife, and conflict abounds.' (Habakkuk 1:3) From the
Lord's answer: 'Look at the nations and watch - and be utterly
amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would
not believe, even if you were told.' (1:5) See also 2:14,20 NIV.
May we uphold in prayer our brethren whose suffering is immense.
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Elizabeth Kendal researched and authored this message.