**** PLAN TO PARTICIPATE IN IDOP - 11 / 18 NOVEMBER 2007 ****
* The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church *
* For resources, visit http://www.idop.org *
Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | No. 450 | Wed 17 Oct 2007
In February 2007 Abu Omar Al-Baghdadi, al-Qaeda's appointed head of
the 'Islamic State of Iraq', released an audio recording in which
he threatened coalition forces ('Crusaders') and local Eastern
Christians ('Byzantines'). He railed, 'We are not afraid of your
coalitions . . . We have drunk blood [in the past] and we find no
[blood] sweeter than that of the Byzantines [Christians] . . .
Roast their flesh with car bombs, cut off their supply lines with
[explosive] charges and tear out their hearts with sniper fire . .
. be careful not to lay down your weapons before the war is over .
. . We are not fighting out of nationalism, but with the aim of
making Allah's word supreme.' (Middle East Media Research Institute
(MEMRI), report no. 1454, 7 Feb 2007) These are not idle threats.
The aim is nothing less than total ethnic and religious genocide.
Islamic terror organisations in Iraq use various media, especially
the Internet, to spread and popularise their message and recruit
militants. Perhaps the only thing more shocking than their hatred,
threats and violence is Western Internet Service Providers (ISPs)
hosting their websites. For example, one website associated with al-
Qaeda's Islamic State of Iraq (quoted above) is hosted by an ISP
based in Texas, USA. (For more details, see the MEMRI link below.)
On 30 September, two Armenian Christian brothers, Ebrahim Sahak
Sarkis (70) and Owanis Sarkis (64) were barbarically murdered,
mutilated and dismembered in their home in Baghdad's al-Habibiya
district. Western ISPs hosting Islamist websites should be charged
with complicity in terror.
Security has disintegrated in southern (Arab Shiite) and central
(Arab Sunni) Iraq. Christians, most of whom are ethnic Assyrians
(Iraq's indigenous people), have fled from there into northern
(Kurdish Sunni) Iraq, particularly to the historic Assyrian
heartland, the Nineveh plains. But Christians are not the only ones
fleeing north. The US surge has forced numerous al-Qaeda-linked
militants to abandon their safe-houses in Baghdad, Diyala, Anbar
and other areas in central Iraq and also flee north to Nineveh
Province. Mosul, the province's capital, has become an al-Qaeda
On Saturday 13 October, two Syrian Catholic priests from Mosul's
Hay al-Thawra neighborhood, Father Pius Affas (60) and Father Mazen
Ishoa (35, ordained on 1 September) were kidnapped as they
travelled to a church in nearby al-Faisaliya. Compass Direct (CD)
reports that Fr Affas' congregation had been receiving threats from
a group named Jihad and Tawhid demanding that they abandon their
church. CD reports Syrian Catholic Archbishop Basile Georges
Casmoussa has spoken by telephone with the priests' captors who are
demanding $1 million ransom. However, paying ransom does not
guarantee safety. A year ago, Syrian Orthodox priest Boulos
Iskander was found murdered in a northern suburb of Mosul after his
family had paid a $40,000 ransom. Bishop Andreas Abouna requests
through 'Aid to the Church in Need' that we 'pray for Fr Pius and
Fr Mazen and also for those who kidnapped them'.
* WEA's IDOP 2007 website < http://www.idop.org/ > includes a 'focal
point' on Iraq.
PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY FOR -
* the safe return of Father Pius Affas and Father Mazen Ishoa.
'Rise up and help us; redeem us because of your unfailing love.'
(Psalm 44:26 NIV)
* the criminals and militants holding Father Pius and Father Mazen
hostage; may God who is rich in mercy open their eyes and
transform their hearts (Ephesians 2:4,5).
* God to intervene in Iraq for his people's sake, disrupting
terror networks, cutting links to terror sponsors, obstructing
channels of arms, funds and assistance; sowing confusion and
dissension in the ranks. 'Let the wicked fall into their own
nets, while [God's children] pass by in safety.' (Psalm 141:10)
* God to preserve, mature and sanctify a Christian remnant in Iraq
to fulfil his promises in Psalm 87:4 & Isaiah 19:23-25; may all
Iraqi Christians be growing in spiritual wisdom, understanding,
trust, faith, prayerfulness and Christian unity across ethnic
and denominational lines.
'So may all your enemies perish, O Lord! But may they who love you
be like the sun when it rises in its strength.' (From the Song of
Deborah, Judges 5:31 NIV)
SUMMARY TO USE IN BULLETINS UNABLE TO RUN THE WHOLE ARTICLE
TERROR WITH WESTERN COMPLICITY IN IRAQ
Islamic terror groups in Iraq are aiming for total ethnic and
religious cleansing to 'make Allah's word supreme'. Various Western
Internet Service Providers assist them by hosting the websites they
use to popularise their jihad ideology and recruit militants. Most
Christians in southern and central Iraq have fled north to the
historic Assyrian heartland, the Nineveh plains. However, the US
surge has forced al-Qaeda militants in Baghdad and other areas to
flee north also. Mosul, the capital of Nineveh Province, is now an
al-Qaeda hub where two Syrian Catholic priests were kidnapped on
Saturday 13 October. Please pray for their safe return. Pray for
peace, and for God to intervene for his people in Iraq, preserving
and sanctifying them for the fulfilment of his promises in Psalm
87:4 and Isaiah 19:23-25.
* Link: Middle East Media Research Institute. No. 1741, 16 Oct
2007. Jihadist/Islamist Websites and Their Hosts (List III):
Websites Supporting Jihad in Iraq - Hosted in the West.
< http://www.memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=SD174107 >
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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.