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Somalia

_images_files/content/article_files/Lent_Prayer/2013/4X3/somalia_4X3.jpg
A street view in Somalia
COSV / CC BY-SA 3.0

Hassan Hurshe (28), a Somali convert from Islam to Christianity, was publicly shot in the head in the town of Jilib in June 2013 by militants from the Islamist group al-Shabaab. It is thought that the group had been monitoring him since his return to Somalia in 2010. His parents, widow and young son fled the area after his murder.

Hassan’s killing is only one of numerous recent anti-Christian attacks carried out by al-Shabaab in Somalia. The group has declared its intention “to get rid of the barbaric and non-Islamic culture in the country” and that converts from Islam would be “under the sword of the holy warriors”. Kidnapping, sexual abuse, torture and murder are among the brutal punishments meted out on the small number of Christian converts. Dozens of Christians have been executed since 2008, when the group seized control of central and southern Somalia. The chaotic nature of the country means that reports of murders that reach us may not reflect the actual number of such incidents.

Al-Shabaab, which has claimed affiliation with al-Qaeda since 2007, is fighting to establish a radical Islamic state in East Africa. Despite having been driven out of most major population centres, it continues to control some rural areas in the centre and south of the country, where it strictly implements sharia law using stonings, amputations and floggings.

Somalia has been without an effective government for many years. The introduction of a provisional constitution and the election of a new parliament and president are hopeful signs, but much of the country is still outside their control. The provisional constitution elevates sharia and greatly restricts religious freedom. It says, “No law which is not compliant with the general principles and objectives of sharia can be enacted” and, “No religion other than Islam can be propagated in the country.” Even in government-held areas Christian converts have to meet secretly or follow Jesus alone. Christianity is often associated with the oppression of the country by European colonial rulers.

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    • “The training helped me to establish the foundation of my faith in the Word of God and build my life on it. I deliberately teach the course to my friends.” Mr Lepcha, a Nepali living in India, had participated in a tutor training course sponsored by Barnabas that equipped him to lead Bible training courses. He then also started serving as an elder in his church. Give thanks that these courses are building up the faith of 419 Christian students and 54 teachers, most of whom are converts from other religions. It is also helping them stand strong when they meet resistance from their relatives and communities. Pray that they will experience God’s comfort when experiencing persecution and God’s strength to reach out in love to those who are hurting them. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 19 hours ago

    • Pray for a Christian family in Kandhamal in Orissa state, India, who have been left devastated after their home was destroyed for the third time by Hindu extremists. The Digals of Budruka village were among hundreds of Christian families to lose their home in the horrendous anti-Christian violence of December 2007. They returned two months later and rebuilt their house, but in August 2008 the attacks resumed, and their second home was also destroyed. After receiving financial aid from the government they were able to rebuild it again this year, but in April it was wrecked once more, shattering their hopes of returning to their village to cultivate their land. Pray that the Lord will comfort them in their distress and provide them with a peaceful dwelling-place and secure home (Isaiah 32:18). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Sep 2014 00:00

    • The landslide victory of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in India’s general election in May sparked alarm for Christians and other minorities in the country. The BJP is the political wing of a Hindu nationalist movement, Hindutva, which is striving to make India a religiously pure nation. It has given support to Hindu extremist groups that attack Christians, and states under the party’s rule have generally experienced a rise in anti-Christian violence. The BJP has introduced “anti-conversion” laws in a number of states, which are used to prevent legitimate Christian evangelism. Prior to the general election, the BJP pledged to introduce national legislation to curb “missionary” activity and end proselytising if elected. Pray that the BJP will rule justly and that the rights and freedoms of all Indian citizens will be upheld. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sat, Sep 2014 00:00

    • Pray for Christians in Sri Lanka facing attacks from Buddhist extremists, who have forced the closure of numerous churches. In an apparently positive move, the government has created a Religious Disputes Unit to address conflicts between different groups and combat attempts to create religious discord. But many Christians and Muslims believe that Buddhist extremists are allowed to operate with impunity and that the new unit will not solve the problems faced by non-Buddhists. A cap on the building of places of worship has also been announced, and this seems to serve the Buddhist lobby, which is opposed to expanding Christian activity. Pray for protection for Christian congregations and that their ministry and mission will not be further impeded. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Fri, Sep 2014 00:00

    • Cry out to the Lord for Alexis Prem Kumar, a 47-year-old Christian minister from India who was abducted in Afghanistan on 2 June. No group has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping, but three Taliban militants have been arrested in connection with it. Alexis had worked for an NGO in Afghanistan since 2011, helping returning refugees. He was leaving a school near Herat for Afghan children who have recently returned from Iran or Pakistan when he was seized. Give thanks for Alexis’ willingness to serve the Lord in what remains one of the most dangerous countries in the world for Christians, and pray for his safe return. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Thu, Sep 2014 00:00

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