January 6, 2010Dear Donna,
Violence in India Continued Unabated in 2009
After large scale attacks in 2007 and 2008, it was hoped there would be a respite in 2009 for the Christians in India, who number approximately 24 million, or roughly 2.3 percent of the population. However, Compass Direct News reports that Christians faced an average of more than three violent attacks per week by Hindu extremists according to the Partial List of Major Incidents of Anti-Christian Violence in India released by the Evangelical Fellowship of India.
Orissa State, after the extreme violence in 2008, experienced only 2 attacks during the past year. However few, who were responsible for the extreme violence, were brought to justice. In addition the rebuilding of burned structures including homes and churches has been slow. The Christian community remains vulnerable and morale is low.
One alarming new trend this past year was that out of 152 incidents of violence recorded, over half were in southern India, long considered to be a place of refuge for Christians. Political groups such as the (BJP), Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sang, the and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council or VHP) are a source of much of the harassment Christians experience. In an interview with Compass, Emmanuel of the Delhi Archdiocese, said Christianity teaches us to hope in God. We can only hope that 2010 will be a better year for Christians.
Father, as we enter the new year, the situation in India seems grave. We call upon you to bring about justice for the oppressed and comfort for those who suffer. And even in the midst of persecution, we pray that Your gospel message of redemption and hope would spread through this land.
Church Buildings Attacked in Malaysia Following Court Decision: With unprecedented acts that stunned Christians in Malaysia, suspected Islamists have attacked eight church buildings since the countrys High Court ruled that a Catholic weekly could use the word Allah. Read more >>
February 3, 2010Dear Donna,
Violence Erupts in Jos, Nigeria
Attacks against Christians continue in Jos, Nigeria. According to a Compass Direct report the violence began when Muslim youths attacked worshippers during a church service on January 17th. The aggression soon escalated. The stated at a press conference that 10 church buildings were burned and that 27 Christians are still missing however local police estimate that over 300 lives were lost.
Father, we pray for peace to reign in this region of Nigeria located between the Islamic north and south. May the darkness in the hearts of the Muslim youth be broken by the light of Your gospel. Today, comfort those who mourn and strengthen their faith.
Christians Targeted, Killed in Mosul, Iraq
On Monday (Feb 15), in a cry of distress, an Open Doors co-worker reported, "Christians are being targeted inside their own homes and killed. Several others have been killed in front of the last check point before leaving Mosul while the Kurdish and Arab security forces were watching." Also at the university in Mosul, Christian students are being targeted. The Open Doors worker reports, "Christian students are pointed to by some Muslim students at the university then taken away and killed. Please get folks to pray!"
"For years Christians have been targeted in Mosul and the surrounding area," says Open Doors USA President/CEO Carl Moeller. It is one of the most violent areas in Iraq. With the parliamentary elections coming up March 7, more violence against Christians is expected."
we pray for the victims of these heinous and violent crimes, asking for
Your peace that passes all understanding to dwell in their hearts and
homes. We bring before You the families enduring the loss of a loved
one, Father, please replace their pain with love and forgiveness and
empower believers in Iraq to stand strong in their faith in You.
On January 6, as Coptic believers were exiting Christmas Eve mass in the Upper Egypt town of Nag Hammadi, six young Christian men and a police officer were shot dead in the streets by masked Muslim men in a drive-by shooting. These murders mark the most severe assault on since January 2000, when 21 were massacred in Sohag. Images of the six murdered young men were a fearful reminder of the 1990s when Copts were routinely killed in bloody sectarian attacks by the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic militants.
Pastor Kumara Nayak is in need of your prayers this month as he recovers from third-degree burns sustained while attempting to save his church from a fire started by Hindu radicals.
Thank you for the information and I thank you for the opportunity to pray for all of these. God Bless!
Amidst the chaos and complexity of the Iraq war dwells an almost forgotten Christian minority commonly known as the Assyrians (also called Chaldeans and Syriacs). Though small in number today, the Assyrians remain a remnant of a once great empire that ruled Mesopotamia in the 8th century BC. As recorded in the Old Testament, the prophet Jonah remorsefully visited the Assyrians after being commanded by God to call them to repentance. Hence, the Assyrians became among the first gentile people redeemed by the God of Israel. The Assyrians were also among the first to follow Christ; the Apostle Thomas was believed to have delivered the Gospel to them in 33 AD. To this day, the Assyrians speak Aramaic, the ancient language spoken by Christ.
The Plains of , located in northern Iraq, have remained the Assyrian homeland ever since. Yet, after the outbreak of the Iraq war, there has been grave concern that this ancient people whose recorded history dates back six thousand years will be uprooted forever. Since the US-Iraq war erupted in 2003, nearly 2,000 Assyrians and other Christians have been killed, left vulnerable to terrorist attacks by Shiite and Sunni extremists determined to rid the country
of its Christian minority. ...
Christians around the world meet so much resistance from all sides just trying to worship God and spread the Word. We have to remember the strength that our faith provides us and that solidarity as Christians can move mountains. This story is a perfect example of this.
The church in central India was able to celebrate Easter despite harassment from Hindu militants and the local police. The Apostolic Christian Assemblies in Madhya Pradesh was accused of forcefully converting Hindus to Christianity by Dharma Sena, a hard line Hindu group.
At least 36 members of Dharma Sena broke into Palm Sunday services chanting Hindu slogans. The police soon followed and arrested Pastor Francis Xavier two associate pastors and four church members.
"Prior to the attack, the area Dharma Sena leader Yogesh Agarwal filed a police complaint against the Christian of conversion activities" and "then marched towards the church with about 35 Dharam Sena members" to carry out the attack.
After the pastor's arrest, approximately 100 Christians marched to the police station carrying banners that said "Masih Shakti Samiti", or "People with Christ's power." The police eventually relented and released Pastor Xavier and the others after admitting that "the allegations against them were false and baseless."
June 3, 2010
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:28,31
Christian Woman Kidnapped in Pakistan as Blackmail
James, 33, was kidnapped, forced to marry, and told to convert to Islam
over a loan dispute. Armed gun men who stormed her parents home, told
her father that he would see his daughter again only if he paid off the
loan to his employer. James said the armed men took her to her fathers
employer, Mohammad Shahbaz Ali, and forced her to marry him. After
weeks of captivity and torture, James escaped and has returned home.
In March James father was told that his family would be attacked unless he paid off the loan within two months. According to Compass News the loan, originally taken out five years ago at an agreed 15 percent interest rate was recently later doubled. This is yet another outrageous example of the exorbitant fees and blackmail imposed on Pakistani Christians; two weeks ago, a man was forced to sell his kidney in order to pay off a portion of an inflated loan to his employer.
Father, we are saddened by the awful treatment that Pakistani Christians are receiving because of their debt. We humbly ask that You would put a stop to the blackmailing and torture that is taking place. We pray that You would provide the funds for their debts, and that You would be glorified in their lives as they continue to seek You.
July 15, 2010
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. 1 Cor. 4:16-18
Muslim Mob Kills Wife and Children ofin
On June 21, Jamshed Masih left his house for work while his wife and four children were still singing hymns before breakfast. Later that morning, a neighbor, Ali Murtaza, witnessed Masihs 11-year-old son buying detergent for his mother at a local shop. The shopkeeper asked him if he was a Christian; the child responded that he was. The shopkeeper refused to give him the packet of detergent and spoke harshly to him, I dont sell to any non-Muslim, you are not welcome here, dont you dare ever come to my shop again, Murtaza said. Soon after, a mob of local residents came to the familys door, led by the Muslim religious leader, Maulana Mahfooz Khan. The mob confronted Masihs wife, Razia, and accused the boy of blaspheming Muhammad, the prophet of Islam. When she protested, they brutally murdered her and her children.
The family had recently moved to the area due to a work transfer for Masih. The Muslims there had notified the religious leader, Khan, saying, We cannot allow these non-Muslims to live here, they will be a bad influence on our children. Local authorities are now too afraid of the Muslim leader to file charges, according to Compass News. Masih has filed a complaint with the chief minister of Punjab Province, begging him for justice. We condemn this brutal murder of innocent children in the name of Islam, local pastor Saleem Mall said. This has to stop now. We appeal to the government to let us live in peace.
Father, we are devastated to hear of Masihs loss and the persecution he faces. Please give him strength as he mourns his loved ones, and let him experience Your comfort and love in the midst of such pain. We pray for justice, freedom, and peace in Pakistan, and for protection over the Christians who remain opposed in Muslim dominant areas.