WEA Religious Liberty Prayer News – December 15, 2011

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I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!
Psalms 27:13-14

* World Evangelical Alliance is a global ministry working with local churches around the world to join in common concern to live and proclaim the Good News of Jesus in their communities. God is glorified and the nations of the earth are forever transformed.

The purpose of the WEA Religious Liberty Prayer Release is to keep you informed and mobilized in prayer and intercession for the needs of justice and religious liberty in the Church around the globe, so that we can stand together for the work of the Kingdom and the healing of the Nations. The Prayer Release is comprised on the basis of different credible Christian based resources.


Attacks against Christian businesses in IRAQ[i]

Compass Direct News Service (CDNS) reports about several attacks against Christian Assyrian businesses in northern Iraq that began on December 2 in the northern town of Zakho. The attacks were reportedly organized by the Kurdistan Islamic Union party, which is inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood. Sources said local authorities were slow in responding to the attacks which resulted in heavy financial losses. The violence in Zakho erupted after mullah Mala Ismail Osman Sindi’s sermon claimed there was moral corruption in massage parlors in the town. Violence also erupted in the days following the attacks on the outskirts of Dohuk in two Christian neighborhoods and near the Kurdish capital, Erbil, and in the center of Sulaymaniyah. The attacks are extremely disturbing as this is the first widespread violence against Christians in once-safe Kurdish region, where thousands of Christians had fled since the U.S.-led military intervention in Iraq in 2003 

Prayer points:
*  Pray that Christians in the region will maintain peace and respond to evil with good.
*  Pray for stability and democracy to prevail in the Kurdish region.
*  Pray that the Kurdish Regional Government will work towards fostering an environment where all inhabitants will be able to peacefully co-exist.   

New push for anti-conversion laws in SRI LANKA[ii] 

Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) reports that Buddhist nationalists in Sri Lanka have renewed their calls for anti-conversion laws, banning "forced conversion" in Sri Lanka. Such legislation has been pushed for by the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) party since 2004. This has been a cause for concern among Protestant Christians, especially after the “loosely worded” circular from the Ministry of Religious Affairs, issued in September, which stipulates prior approval of the Ministry for building or maintaining places of worship. Еvangelical churches in particular are reported to face increased pressure from the state, as their applications to register formally have been routinely rejected, and some planning permission have been even denied for non-church buildings if the applicant is a Christian individual or organization. 

Prayer points:
*  Pray that the attempts to introduce anti-conversion legislation in Sri Lanka will be halted.
*  Pray for changes in discriminatory policies against Christians in the country.
*  Pray for promotion of religious freedom in Sri Lanka.   

Five churches in risk of demolition in INDONESIA[iii] 

Asia News reports in its edition from December 5th that an Islamic extremist group in Pracimantoro, a town in central Java, Indonesia, has appealed to local government for the demolition of five Protestant churches in the area. The fundamentalists claim that the Christian communities lack building permits for places of worship. Previously there have been similar claims to nine other churches in Bekasi regency, West Java. The article explains that the procedure for the construction of a Catholic or Protestant church in Indonesia is complicated and it can take five to ten years to obtain all required permits. According to local sources, the five churches have received authorization to operate from the office for religious affairs of Semarang, the provincial capital, but have not yet been handed over the Izin Mendirikan Bangunan (IMB) – the central office that governs the permission procedure. 

Prayer points:
*  Pray that the situation with the five churches will be resolved in a peaceful and just manner.
*  Pray that authorities will provide fair treatment towards Christian communities in Indonesia.
* Pray for the Church in Indonesia to stay strong and to persevere.   

ü  Additional prayer items are available at the WEA website, http://www.worldevangelicals.org/pray/ . 

[i] Source: Compass Direct News Service, available at: http://www.compassdirect.org/english/country/iraq/article_124228.html

[ii] Source: The Voice of the Martyrs, Canada, available at: http://www.persecution.net/pnp.htm#4

[iii] Source: Asia News, available at: http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Central-Java,-Islamic-extremists-against-Christians:-five-churches-at-risk-demolition-23355.html