WEA Religious Liberty Prayer News, May 1, 2011

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May 1, 2011

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in you I trust;
do not let me be put to shame;
do not let my enemies exult over me.
Psalms 25:1-2


* 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.

Charges against Christians in BANGLADESH

Compass Direct News Service (CDNS) reports about a positive development in a case against six volunteer health care workers in Damurhuda, Chuadanga district, northwest of Bangladesh’s capital city of Dhaka who were charged in March 2011 with “hurting religious feelings” after area Muslims objected to distribution of Christian literature at a health camp. The six local volunteers were working with a Japanese volunteer doctor, who offered Christian leaflets and Bibles to patients, telling patients they were under no obligation to take them. The Christians were arrested under Section 54 of the penal code, according to which a special power is granted to police to arrest anyone on any suspicion. The police prosecuted them under section 295-A of the penal code for hurting religious sensibilities. But as no investigation report was submitted by the police within 15 days of the beginning of prosecution, the Christians were released at a hearing held on the 10th of April. According to a pastor from northwest Bangladesh, cited by CDNS, “This incident of harassment is a grim reminder of how vulnerable the Christians here are in Muslim-majority society, though rights of religious freedom and freedom of expression by minorities are ensured in our constitution,” Mridha said.

Prayer points:

* Pray for true religious freedom and the rights of minorities to be respected in Bangladesh - the world’s third-largest Muslim-majority nation.

* Pray for protection of the Christian minority in Bangladesh, that comprises less than 1 percent of the total population.

* Pray for peaceful cohabitation between Christians, Muslims and Hindus in the country.

Religious freedom in UZBEKISTAN

Recent reports from Forum 18 News Service reveals about a new wave of raids and confiscations against religious organizations in Uzbekistan. Forum 18 has learned that Uzbekistan's NSS secret police and other officials have carried out two raids on an officially registered Baptist church in the capital Tashkent and confiscated over 50,000 Christian books, a large quantity of printing and office equipment, and a sum of money personally belonging to one person. In addition, three of the church leaders and the caretaker were given fines ranging between 50 and 100 times the minimum monthly salary. The described incident further proves the harshening of official actions against the possession and supply of religious literature. According to an interviewed Baptist, cited by Forum 18, "The authorities are interested in having small pocket-size churches and religious organisations, which will stay quiet and not have much religious activity."

Prayer points:

* Pray that authorities in Uzbekistan will respect freedom of religion and freedom of expression in the country.

* Pray that believers in Uzbekistan may stay strong in spite of the harshening of the official actions against them.

* Pray that the word of God and religious literature will be distributed freely in the country.

Religious freedom restricted in LAOS

The Research and Analysis Report of the WEA Religious Liberty Commission (RLC) from April 25th, which most of you have already probably reviewed, gives us a thorough analysis of the current situation of religious freedom in Laos. According to the analysis, persecution of Christians, mostly from ethnic minority Protestant groups, which includes expulsion from village, forced relocation, pressure to renounce faith, detention and arrest, destruction of livestock and crop and closure of churches, is routine in provincial areas, especially in the provinces of Bolikhamxai, Houaphan, Salavan, Luanprabang, Attapeu, Oudamsai and Luang Namtha. Protestant Christianity in general, and the Hmong Christian community in particular, is seen by sections of the Lao society and the authorities as an American or imperialist “import” into the country and a threat to the communist rule. Concrete recent incidents, as well as statistic from various international resources have been used in the analysis report for demonstrating the tense situation in the country.

Prayer points:

* Pray for Christians in Laos to be strengthened and united in overcoming the persecution with steadfastness of their faith.

* Pray for the government of Laos to respect the rights of minority groups, protestant Christianity and the Hmong Christian community in particular.

*Pray for religious freedom in the country.

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

[i] Source: Comas Direct News Service, available at: http://www.compassdirect.org/english/country/bangladesh/article_111570.html
[ii] Source: Forum 18 News Service, available at: http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=1564