During the month of August there were at least 100 churches and Christian institutions attacked, some burned to the ground. The amount of violence against the Christian community in Egypt was staggering. The exact reasons for the violence, the specific perpetrators, and the absence of security forces to prevent or punish the offenders, all remain somewhat unclear. The leaders of Egypt must continue to work to create a society that does not promote hatred and violence against others but promotes the dignity of every individual.
Full Story: http://ow.ly/owBwV
This post was modified from its original form on 05 Sep, 3:47
A rebel group linked to al Qaeda has reportedly taken over a largely Christian village in the mountains to the northeast of Syria. The attack on a government controlled checkpoint led to the death of at least eight soldiers in the fighting. There is a convent in the village that houses about a dozen nuns and over 25 orphans. A nun said that nearly 100 people have fled to the convent for safety as the rebel group has engaged in a bombing campaign of the village.
Full Story: http://ow.ly/oAzlv
While more than 2 million Syrians have fled the country to escape the daily violence, many of the religious minorities don’t feel that is an option for them. They are caught in the middle and face dangerous prospects if they leave and dangerous prospects if they stay.
A report from the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom highlights the particular dangers that religious minorities are suffering in this conflict:
This post was modified from its original form on 08 Sep, 23:26
“When I told them I was a Christian, they asked me to join a group of people already ordered to lie down by the side of the road,” said witness Emmanuel Sunday in an interview with Morning Star News. It was when the gunmen started shooting and killing the Christians grouped together that Emmanuel ran into a nearby maize farm. He escaped unhurt. The other Christians were not so lucky.
On the roadside near Nigeria's central city of Jos, 5 Christians were forced off of a minibus and executed after declaring their faith to their captors. Witnesses suspect the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram to be behind the ambush. Since 2009, Boko Haram is thought to be responsible for over 3,000 deaths, many victims being targeted because of their Christian faith.
Full Story: http://ow.ly/oAPiR
Since the civil war in Syria began, Christians have increasingly suffered attacks from radical Islamists. ICC receives reports of murders, rapes, and other atrocities committed against Syrian Christians on a daily basis! In the past 18 months, a staggering 2 million Syrians have fled their country to seek refuge in neighboring countries.
Unable to work, they are desperate. Help is necessary to sustain the families and very little aid has come to them so far. We are working directly with churches on the ground to provide basic needs so that children and families can stay intact and healthy. ...
The elopement of a Christian man, Umair Masih, 20, and his Muslim girlfriend, Nadia Shabir, 17, on the evening of July 27, has resulted in a charge of gang rape, as well as the loss of livelihood for 40 Christian families. In response to their outrage Muslim neighbors and landlords are refusing to hire Christians to work in their fields; a local activist says the Christians families are at risk of starvation.
Sectarian violence has spiked throughout Iraq in recent months, reaching its highest level since 2008. More than 800 people were killed in August alone, with the highest number of casualties in Baghdad province.
Please join us in prayer for these innocent victims and take action now to help end this violence. Click Here: www.jlyou.org/HelpthePersecuted
On Sunday, in Peshawar, Pakistan, as hundreds of parishioners streamed out of an Anglican church, a pair of suicide bombers blew themselves up killing at least 78 people and wounding countless others. In Nairobi, Kenya, the Somali based al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab militant group has claimed responsibility for the attack at the Westgate shopping center that left at least 62 dead and over 175 injured. An unknown number of people remain hostage. Please join in prayer for the victims and families of the church massacre in Pakistan, and for the on-going attack and hostage situation at a mall in Kenya.
The scene looked like a war zone. Walking down the street toward their beloved church, Markus* and a few other church members were horrified at the massive destruction. The day before, the neighborhood had endured a dreadful and systematic attack from radical Muslim mobs. Almost every Christian...
On Sunday, in Peshawar, Pakistan, as hundreds of parishioners streamed out of an Anglican church, a pair of suicide bombers blew themselves up killing at least 78 people, and wounding countless others. In Nairobi, Kenya, the Somali-based al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab militant group has claimed responsibility for the attack at the Westgate shopping center that left at least 62 dead, and over 175 injured. An unknown number of people remain hostage. Please join in prayer for the victims and families of the church massacre in Pakistan, and for the on-going attack and hostage situation at a mall in Kenya.
This post was modified from its original form on 26 Sep, 12:58
On Sunday morning, Sept 29, Boko Haram attacked a secondary school dormitory, killing 65 students. Earlier in the month Boko Haram fighters set up check points on several roads and fired at motorists and bystanders. In the waning days of September, the militant Islamist sect Boko Haram is suspected of having killed at least 110 people of various faiths across Nigeria, prompting the country's top Catholic bishop to declare that the rebel group "has no limits." At least 10 Christians have died in these attacks, including a pastor and his son.
Employed as a temporary worker in Moscow, Zhasulan (alias) was on his way home to Uzbekistan when a New Testament was discovered in his suitcase. A few days later Zhasulan was convicted by an Uzbek court for carrying a Bible, and forced to pay a fine of $350. His family became enraged by this discovery and Zhasulan’s brother severely beat him. He is now asking for our prayers that in spite of the persecution his faith will grow, that his relatives will stop abusing him, and that his testimony would ultimately encourage many to come to Christ. Please pray for this brother.
Leaving…finding a way out is the main thought in the minds of many Christians in Central-South Iraq. Fearful of exploding bombs, rockets landing in their homes, and death lurking around every corner… many have run out of reasons to stay. Large numbers of Iraqi Christians have already left. But those who remain find little sparks of hope in fellowship with other Christians.
Kaholatan means hope in the Sama dialect. The Kaholatan Mat Project in Zamboanga, Southern Philippines lives up to its name—bringing hope to underprivileged Sama believers by empowering them through the production of handicrafts made from padan, a tropical plant. Ina Pote and Ka Mary recently shared their powerful story when an Open Doors worker visited their home.
Motuma's day started the same as most other weekdays. He got up early and prepared for his job as casual laborer on a nearby farm where he worked throughout the rainy season. In the dry winter months, he worked as a merchant, travelling around to buy and sell items for a minimal profit.
On Saturday, Oct 19, a suicide bomber attacked a restaurant in the central Somali town of Beledweyne, killing at least 15 and injuring countless others. Al-Shabab, the al-Qaeda linked extremist group that carried out the four-day siege on the Westgate mall in Nairobi in September, claimed responsibility for this latest violence.
As the wedding party exited the Egyptian church, two masked gunmen drove by and opened fire. At least three women were killed instantly and 17 others were injured, some critically. The newlyweds, who survived the attack, were in shock as their wedding joy turned into sorrow.
These Persecuted Christians Thought Hope Was Lost and God Helped Them Stay Strong. Please Pray.
Please watch this powerful story and pray for persecuted Christians everywhere this week. Pray online at www.iCommitToPray.com....
Heavily armed militants - suspected members of Boko Haram attacked Damaturu, Yobe state's capital, on Thursday, Oct 22. Nigerian Christians expressed great concern over the safety of their brethren in Damaturu, saying, "This city has suffered many attacks in the recent. They are living in constant fear. Every single day there are believers who lose loved ones and see the destruction of their property."
A Christian neighborhood nicknamed "The Slaughter House," has been abandoned by its Christian residents after years of police allowing crime and gangs to reign unabated. According to residents leaving the neighborhood, police have allowed gangs to perpetrate intense levels of violence against the Christian community without recourse. This lack of protection, which probably partially stems from anti-Christian sentiments in Pakistan, has left hundreds of Christians homeless.
Full Story: http://ow.ly/qJXf2
Photo: Adeela, 15 years old was threatened by a Muslim man to convert to Islam or face severe consequences. When she refused, he poured sulfuric acid all over her body. Please pray for her spiritual and physical recovery.
This brave brother in Christ survived certain death to share his story of persecution and faith in Jesus. Pray for him and all those suffering the evil of Boko Haram in Nigeria.
Full Story: http://ow.ly/r6S8S
On February 12th 2011, Aira's 9-year-old daughter and her husband, Maximiliano Suarez, (who was a pastor of a local church) were killed.
The murder has left the family grief-stricken; the pain of the absence sometimes gets greater, other times it's gone.
The surviving family members have participated in trauma counseling (organized by Open Doors) They have received financial support and food, allowance to rent and the spiritual and psychological following up through our collaborators in the region. One Open Doors co-worker said, "Although we cannot be there all the time with our persecuted brothers and sisters, we are attending to them by phone, getting them involved in activities and trainings that we know will help them in the healing process."
"The fight is constant, but we feel joyful in knowing there are people who are praying for us, it encourages us when we receive the visitors from Open Doors, it is so helpful," says one family member.
"It is not easy to be hopeful, in a place where the daily bread is death, and Christians are the target of violence and persecutions, because they are the only ones who do not accept the threats and pressures of the rebel groups," added another family member.
An Iranian Christian remains in hiding after having received numerous threats and abuses as a result of his faith in Christ. Armin Davoodi, a recent convert was threatened with death earlier this year by Iranian secret police. His family continues to face regular harassment both from Iranian authorities as well as from vandals who attack their home. The situation for Iranian Christians remains dire. “The world should know about the situation of converted Iranians,” one Iranian said. They regularly face abuse, imprisonment, and threats of death, simply because of their faith.
Full Story: http://ow.ly/rbmPr
Photo: Marks of Armin Davoodi’s interrogation by authorities in Iran. (Morning Star News)
Threatened and Mocked, but Choosing to Remain
When Kyaw* and his family moved into a small village in North Myanmar, they did not expect a warm welcome. As a pharmacist, he opened up a much-needed medical shop. Angered by Kyaw’s commitment to share the gospel to patients when he provided them with medicine, the village chief soon demanded that he leave, declaring; “I cannot live with a Christian. You have three hours to leave or I will burn your house down.”
A Voice Stands Up Against Oppression
“We will have to expel Christians from here, because when we want to do something, they always stop us with their prayers.” These were the words said by a guerrilla in response to the San Antonio de Getucha' Christians fasting and praying over a period of 40 days.
A teenage girl in western Uganda still bears physical and emotional scars after her father tortured her for leaving Islam and putting her faith in Christ.
Susan Ithungu, of Isango village in the Kasese district, had been hospitalized at Kagando Hospital after neighbors, with the help of the police, rescued her from her father, Beya Baluku. He was arrested shortly afterward, but quickly released.
Susan and her younger brother, Mbusa Baluku, lived alone with their father after he divorced their mother. In March 2010, an evangelist from Bwera Full Gospel Church spoke at Susan's school, and she decided to put her trust in Christ for her salvation. "I heard the message of Christ's great love, of Him dying for us to get everlasting peace, and there and then I decided to believe in Christ," she said. "After a month, news reached my father that I had converted to Christianity, and that was the beginning of my troubles with him. Our father warned us not to attend church or listen to the gospel message. He even threatened us with a sharp knife, saying that he was ready to kill us in broad daylight in case we converted to Christianity."
Pastor Joseph Baluku, of Bwera Full Gospel Church in Kasese, said that neighbors, who had discovered that the girl was being kept locked in a room with almost no food or water, notified authorities, and after her release took her to the hospital.
Susan has been able to use this experience as a way to share her faith. Thank you for praying for Christians like Susan in Uganda!
More Attacks/Closure of Churches
In unrelated instances reaching across two continents, on Nov 13, police in South Vietnam ordered the closure of a new house church; in Algeria, on Nov 12, a church was attacked by a group of unidentified individuals. The pastors from each fellowship have asked for our prayers.
We Do Not Take Prayers for Granted
An Open Doors fieldworker wants to thank supporters for praying for the team as they travel through dangerous regions of northern Nigeria. During a recent trip to Damaturu in the troubled Yobe state, he was reminded of the powerful difference a visit can make to a persecuted Christian; he was also reminded of the importance of prayer.
Despite Victimization, CAR Pastor Won't Leave His Flock
A pastor who lives in Bangui, the capital of Central African Republic, shares, "I see that God's servants often become targets. But I continue preaching each Sunday." Seleka rebels have already robbed his house three times. Despite the threats and the fact that many have fled the area to safer places, he refuses to leave his dwindling flock.
Syrian War Crimes Brought to Spotlight
Sadad, a predominantly Christian town, was temporarily overrun by Islamist militias on Oct 21. According to one Syrian archbishop, the town became the scene of one of the "biggest massacre of Christians in Syria in the past two-and-a-half years." In a separate incident, on Dec 2, the Vatican reported that 12 nuns were abducted during opposition rebels' takeover of Syria's historically Christian town of Maaloula. "We are dying over there [in Syria]," says freelance journalist Nuri Kino; "City after city is being emptied of Christians."