Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | No. 456 | Wed 28 Nov 2007
WELCOME to the 52 intercessors who have joined the list this month.
THE PERSECUTED CHURCH IN THE WORLD: International Day of Prayer
(IDOP) for the Persecuted Church 2007 -- an annual global prayer
event. Prayer resources are still available at
< http://www.idop.org >.
TURKEY, where escalating Turkish nationalism has been fuelling an
anti-Christian media campaign ahead of the trial of five Turkish
Muslim nationalists charged with torturing and murdering three
Christians in Malatya in April.
* UPDATE: The trial has been adjourned to 14 January 2008 to give
defence attorneys more time to prepare. However, of the 31 files
the prosecutors have compiled, 15 have little information about
the five murderers and their crime, whilst the other 16 hold
considerable detail about the three 'missionaries' and their
'missionary activities'. Provocative disinformation and
conspiracy theories abound and it is starting to look as though
the Christians will be on trial! It is greatly concerning that
the case files include the names and contact details of many
Turkish Christians and contacts the Christians made in Malatya.
These details taken from the Christians' computers are thus now
public and available to any Turkish or Muslim nationalist or
terrorist who might want them. This puts many Christian lives at
risk. Please pray.
INDIA, where persecution of Christians is widespread, persistent
and escalating in a climate of impunity.
OTHER ISSUES DURING NOVEMBER
* EGYPT: ILLEGAL FOR MUSLIMS TO CONVERT
Siham Ibrahim Muhammad Hassan al-Sharqawi was born Muslim but
became interested in Christianity in 2000 while a student of
tourism. Siham became close to a Coptic Christian man in the same
course. Siham's family disapproved and persecuted her intensively.
She eventually fled the violence. Siham was baptised in August 2004
and married her Coptic Christian boyfriend three months later.
Because it is illegal in Egypt for a Muslim woman to marry a
Christian man and a Muslim is not permitted to leave Islam
(apostasise), to get a marriage certificate Siham had to use forged
Christian identity papers. Siham was arrested on 22 November, but
exactly why is unclear as no charges have been released. Violence,
including torture, is systemic in Egyptian prisons. Please pray for
Pray also for Mohammed Hegazy, a Muslim-born convert to
Christianity, who is presently suing Egypt's Interior Ministry for
his right to religious liberty. Pray that God will use Egypt's
resulting 'great apostasy debate' for the blessing of many, the
liberation of Egypt and the glory of God.
* SUDAN: PRESIDENT AL-BASHIR RECRUITS MUJAHIDEEN
Tensions have escalated dramatically in Sudan over recent months
because the Comprehensive Peace Agreement protocols have not been
implemented. Then on 17 November President al-Bashir made a
belligerent speech in which he ordered the opening of mujahideen
training camps to ready 'Islamic holy warriors' for war. Leaders in
Darfur and in predominantly Christian Southern Sudan have now put
their forces on high alert. President al-Bashir also railed against
American, British and European states. He accused them of being
hypocrites and blasphemers and has vowed to wage jihad against them
if they set foot in Sudan. (Peacekeepers from these states are to
be part of a joint UN-AU peacekeeping force due in Darfur in
January.) Please pray for all Christians in Sudan, for wise
leadership and peace, and for an end to Arab-Islamic repression,
persecution and belligerence.
* TURKMENISTAN: BAPTIST PASTOR UNDER FIRE
Baptist pastor Vyacheslav Kalataevsky was arrested on 12 March
2007 and on 14 May was sentenced to three years in a labour camp.
Kalataevsky, who was born in Ukraine but raised in Turkmenistan,
had previously been deported for 'establishing a prayer house and
organising meetings of Christian Baptists'. Police allege he then
crossed the border illegally in 2001. His family maintain that he
is innocent of that and the Ministry of State Security secret
police are punishing him for his religious activity. Kalataevsky
was released on 6 November after eight months in prison. Forum 18
reports that he and his wife Valentina were then summonsed to a
meeting on 13 November where they were ordered to sign a prepared
statement agreeing to stop meeting with fellow believers. They
refused. At the end of the meeting a Muslim imam promised
Kalataevsky that if he continued his religious activity he would
meet an 'unpleasant fate'. The local ancient Armenian Apostolic
community has also been intensively persecuted. 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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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 commissioner
of the WEA RLC and convenor of the Australian EA RLC.
Elizabeth Kendal researched and authored this message.