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Sudan

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Numerous church buildings in Sudan have been demolished by the authorities

“They told me I must co-operate with them in giving them the names of Muslims who have changed their religion, and they asked me about the whereabouts of my friend, a guy who was a Muslim and became a Christian.” A Christian man who fled Sudan in 2013 described how the authorities there are trying to track down Christian converts from Islam. Officials threatened to kill him for refusing to divulge names.

The persecution of apostates, who are legally punishable by death in Sudan, is only one part of a targeted and ruthless campaign being waged by the Islamist government against the country’s Christian minority. Sudanese Christians have been arrested, interrogated and detained without charge; churches are being demolished and Christian institutions closed; and Christian literature has been seized. A media drive against alleged “Christianisation” led to the deportation of numerous foreign Christian workers. The government has said that it will not grant any more licences for new church buildings.

President Omar al-Bashir has made clear his intention to make Sudan a fully Islamic state, and since the secession of the mainly Christian South Sudan in 2011, the process of Islamisation has accelerated. Although a strict version of sharia is already in force, the new constitution is expected further to limit religious freedom.

Hundreds of thousands of Christians from South Sudan, many of whom were driven from their homes by decades of civil war (1983-2005), are effectively being forced out of the country by government intimidation and harassment. But many lack the money or resources to move their families and possessions to South Sudan. Hostility towards any remaining Christian presence in Sudan is growing, and some observers believe that the government’s goal may be to eradicate Christianity from the country altogether.

Government forces have also been targeting the Nuba Mountains near the border with South Sudan, which has one of the largest Christian populations in the country. The purpose of their brutal air and ground campaign appears to be to “cleanse” the region of its non-Arabs and non-Muslims. Thousands have fled their homes to escape the violence and are now stuck in crowded refugee camps in the South.

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Daily prayer

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  • Cry out to the Lord for Christians in the Central African Republic (CAR) who have been driven from their homes by the violence that has engulfed their country. Attacks by Islamist Séléka militants and retaliation from “anti-balaka” militias has generated a huge humanitarian crisis in which around two million people, many of them Christians, are in need of emergency assistance. Give thanks for the work of Barnabas partners who have been providing food rations to hundreds of displaced believers in the capital, Bangui, and distributing food, medicines, clothing and seeds to thousands in various regions. Pray that the aid will reach those who need it most, and that the Lord will comfort the relatives and friends of the thousands who have been killed in the fighting. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 8 hours ago

  • “Jesus Christ performed tremendous miracles in all our lives through this Shalom Camp.” A pastor spoke of how God had worked through a Barnabas-sponsored weekend Bible camp for persecuted Christians in Sri Lanka. The camp was attended by believers from five different churches that had been the target of threats or attacks by Buddhist or Hindu extremists. The participants heard teaching on the Biblical basis for persecution and took part in group discussions; they came away refreshed and encouraged, and for many the camp was a time of great spiritual renewal. Give thanks to the Lord for the peace He has brought to these persecuted believers, and ask that the weekend will continue to bear much fruit in their lives. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Pray for a church leader in Sri Lanka, S.S. Johnpillai, who was threatened at gunpoint by attackers who claimed to be Special Forces officers. The minister was in a hut next to his church building in Guadalupe, Trincomolee when, he said, the men “appeared out of nowhere”. The intruders put a gun to Johnpillai’s head and accused him of holding a Communion service in honour of the founder of the Tamil Tigers, the government’s opponents in the country’s long and bloody civil war. The government had that day made it a criminal offence to commemorate the group. The gunmen ignored Johnpillai’s protests that he had not dedicated Communion to the group’s founder, and they threatened to shoot him. Ask the Lord to support and strengthen Johnpillai as he recovers from this terrifying ordeal. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Lift up to the Lord persecuted Christians in Sri Lanka, where at least 65 anti-Christian incidents took place during 2013, including repeat attacks on several believers and their property in October 2013. However, a Sri Lankan government minister from a Buddhist nationalist party denied the accounts, saying that they might be “made up”. The minister claimed that Sri Lankans are “one family … trying to live together after a long civil war”. Pray that the Sri Lankan government will recognise the danger that our brothers and sisters face from militant Buddhists and that the authorities will provide effective protection for vulnerable Christians. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Condemned Christian mother Aasia Bibi’s final appeal hearing is scheduled to take place tomorrow (14 April) having been deferred twice. She was sentenced to death for blasphemy in November 2010 having been falsely accused of insulting Muhammad following an argument with Muslim co-workers. Aasia has been languishing in jail since the accusation was made in June 2009. Pray that her appeal will finally go ahead and that the judges will have the courage to acquit and release Aasia; there are concerns that they may give in to pressure from hardline Islamists who have been calling for her execution. Pray that Aasia, her husband and children will know the Lord’s peace as they await the verdict. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Apr 2014 00:00

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