Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | No. 480 | Wed 28 May 2008
WELCOME to the 19 intercessors who have joined the list this month.
TAJIKISTAN, where the minority Christian population face
unemployment, harsh winter conditions and potentially further
restrictive religious legislation. Baptist churches in the
Central Asian Republic have been prohibited from importing
quantities of Bibles (100,000). Christian workers face obstacles
in their ministry including lack of employment, transport,
strict religious laws and the challenge of sharing God's love
with their Muslim neighbours.
LEBANON, where the vulnerable Christian minority live in a nation
on the brink of a civil war between Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims
and in a region where Iran's Shi'ite dictators strive to replace
Sunni Arab dictators as the leaders of the Muslim world.
Iran-sponsored Hezballah is consolidating in Southern Lebanon to
wage war/jihad on Israel.
* UPDATE: As reported in RLP 478, when the Lebanese government
acted against the war-mongering terrorist organisation Hezballah
on 6 May, Hezballah responded with a violent and threatening
display of power. The government was then left with a choice:
leave Hezballah alone and have 'peace', or confront Hezballah
and face civil war. Due primarily to lack of international
support the government chose 'peace' -- it surrendered.
According to the 'peace' deal, Hezballah now has veto rights
over all government decisions and is thus the supreme power in
Lebanon. Hezballah (a proxy for Iran) will be able to continue
preparations on Israel's northern border for Iran's planned
genocidal war against Israel. Furthermore, President Michel
Suleiman, former army chief, was sworn in on Monday after Qatari
mediation eventually brokered an election. The presidency has
been vacant since November 2007. Suleiman, a Syrian-sponsored
Maronite Christian, has the approval of Hezballah and the
BURMA (MYANMAR), where the Christian minorities are persecuted and
the Karen people face genocide. In the midst of the devastation
caused by Cyclone Nargis and the ongoing persecution of the
people living in Burma under the repressive regime of the Junta,
may the ethnic Burmese majority (who are Buddhist) be drawn to
the Lord. May the Burmese Christians be filled with the Holy
Spirit as they serve the Lord amidst great affliction. As
international assistance flows into Burma, may God bring true
liberty to Burma.
WEST PAPUA, where 1 May 2008 was the 45th anniversary of Indonesia
assuming administrative control of West Papua. The Melanesian,
mostly Christian Papuans suffer violent repression,
exploitation, murder, dispossession, starvation, torture and
other human rights abuses at the hands of the corrupt Indonesian
military. The West Papuans are now facing genocide. Please pray
for God's intervention. Pray that God will awaken the conscience
of the Church and the world to the plight of the West Papuans.
OTHER ISSUES DURING MAY
* MALAYSIA: THE GREAT APOSTASY DEBATE STIRS AGAIN
In what was to be a landmark decision in the Syariah High Court in
Penang, on 8 May 2008 Judge Othman Ibrahim ruled in favour of an
ethnic Chinese Malaysian woman named Tan Ean Yuang (39) who applied
to renounce Islam and revert to Buddhism. The judge so ruled on the
basis that the plaintiff had not really practised Islam. Thus the
decision did not advance religious liberty in Malaysia as it failed
to challenge the unacceptable status quo: in relation to Islam, the
guarantees of religious liberty in the federal Constitution are
deemed subordinate to the rulings of Sharia Courts run by the
states. The best this ruling can do is to stir up Malaysia's Great
Apostasy Debate once again.
* ISRAEL: NEW TESTAMENTS BURNT
The relationship between Messianic Jews (who believe in Jesus) and
Orthodox Jews is turbulent. Messianic Jews face persecution not
only from Islamic influences that seek to purge them but also from
their Jewish compatriots who despise them as converts to
Christianity. BBC and USA Today reported another example of
discrimination against Messianic Jews when Orthodox Jews in Or
Yehuda rounded up and burnt hundreds of New Testaments distributed
by Messianic Jews to Ethiopian Jews. Christian missionary activity
towards the Jewish people often meets with a hostile response.
Moderate Jewish voices have condemned the Bible burning as
reminiscent of Nazi Germany and unacceptable, no matter how
offensive the Jews find Christian missionary activity.
* ALGERIA: THE CRACKDOWN CONTINUES
In RLP 466, it was noted that Algeria had begun a crackdown on
Christian missionary activity and conversions from Islam to
Christianity. In May Christians in Algeria have suffered continued
persecution. Authorities have closed churches, Christians have been
charged for distributing Christian literature and most recently
Compass Direct reports a Christian convert could receive a three-
year sentence for practising her faith 'without a licence'.
< http://www.compassdirect.org/en/display.php >
* INDIA: UNRELENTING PERSECUTION
This month there are the ongoing reports of Hindus persecuting and
intimidating Christians. The Evangelical Fellowship of India
advises that Hindutva extremists assaulted two nuns and ransacked
their convent on 15 May 2008. Voice of the Martyrs reports that a
Christian worker holding a prayer meeting in his home was beaten by
Hindu militants when he refused to stop the gathering.
< http://www.persecution.net/news/india283.html >
'But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the
surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in
every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;
persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed ...'
2 Corinthians 4:7-9 ESV
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.
Compiled by Anna Kha, volunteer RLC Research Assistant.
Elizabeth Kendal, WEA RLC Principal Researcher & Writer, is on
leave following her mother's recent death.
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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.
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