WEA Religious Liberty Prayer News, June, 2011

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All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,
for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.
Psalms 25:10

* 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.

Afghan Christian asylum seekers without protection in INDIA

Christian Solidarity Worldwide Hong Kong reports about the possible forced repatriation of seven Afghan Christians from India after local officials from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) refused to grant them refugee status. One of the seven Afghan Christians is Aman, a father of four who fled to India following the May 2010 TV broadcast of Afghans praying and being baptised, which had led to government persecution of converts. Apostasy (abandoning Islam) is a crime punishable by death under Afghanistan's sharia law, which means that returning converts are expected to meet harsh punishment back in their country. However, the UNHCR office in India stopped accepting applications from Christians fleeing religious persecution, stating they did not meet protection criteria. Christian groups supporting Aman and other asylum seekers are urging the UNHCR and the Indian government to reconsider their decision and secure protection for the Christian converts in India.

Prayer points:

* Pray that Aman and the seven Christian asylum seekers would receive legal protection from either the UNHCR or the Indian government.

* Pray for protection over the Afghan Christians, who are facing daily harassment from Indian Muslims and the thousands of Afghan Muslim refugees also present in India.

* Pray for all persecuted Christians as well as Christian converts in Afghanistan.

Christian woman arrested for evangelizing in SUDAN[ii]

Christian converts in North Sudan face a similar situation as their brothers in Nigeria. Compass Direct News Service (CDNS) reports about the arrest of a Christian woman, Hawa Abdalla Muhammad Saleh on 9th of May in the Abu Shouk camp for Internally Displaced Persons in Al-Fashir, capital of North Darfur state. Hawa is accused by the Sudanese National Security Intelligence of converting Muslims to Christianity and possessing and distributing Bibles to others in the camp. CDNS sources said she could also be tried for apostasy, which carries the death sentence in Sudan according to the sharia (Islamic law), established in the north. CDNS additionally reports that in Khartoum, 120 kilometers (75 miles) southwest of El-Fashir, a Christian mother of a 2-month-old baby has been wounded and destitute because she and her husband left Islam for Christianity. According to the report, the arrests and increased persecution comes as northern Christians become more vulnerable to official and societal pressure with South Sudan set to split from the predominantly Muslim north on 9th of July.

Prayer points:

* Pray for the situation in Sudan, especially for the current transitional period in the country.

* Pray for the Christian minority in Sudan.

* Pray for strength and steadfastness of faith in Hawa Abdalla Muhammad Saleh, as she has been transferred to an unknown location in Khartoum and there are fears she could be tortured as she was detained and tortured for six days in 2009.

“A New Dimension of Christian Persecution in INDIA”

The Research and Analysis Report of the WEA Religious Liberty Commission (RLC) from May 19th, which most of you have already probably reviewed, gives us a thorough analysis of the current new trends of persecution against Christians in India. According to the analysis, although the politics of Hindu nationalism, which fuelled Christian persecution for over a decade in India, seems to be losing ground, the absence of mass violence may not still ensure the safety of the Christian minority. Despite of the fact that India did not see any incident of “mass violence” on Christians in the last three years, the frequency of attacks on Christians remains as high as it has been for the last 13 years. The conclusion of the analysis is that “it seems almost certain that pragmatic Hindu nationalists will remain as active as, if not more than, they have been in the past – though in a fashion that does not attract too much attention. This will mean more attacks but less coverage by the mainstream media, which tends to look at the magnitude of an attack and fails to see it as part of a trend. The best way to counter this new Hindu nationalist strategy is to streamline the reporting of Christian persecution and highlight statistics periodically.”

Prayer points:

* Pray for wisdom from God on how to resist these new trends for persecution against Christians in India.

* Pray continuously for Christians in India, who are facing constant threat of persecution.

* Pray for proper attention and consideration on part of the International community towards the situation of religious freedom in India.

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

[i] Source: Christian Solidarity Worldwide  Hong Kong, available at: http://www.csw.org.hk/weekly-summary-afghanistan-may-20-2011

[ii] Source: Compass Direct News Service, available at: http://www.compassdirect.org/english/country/sudan/article_113015.html