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Christians everywhere “legitimate targets” – Al-Qaeda

Project(s): 00-345

Country/Region: Iraq, Egypt, Middle East and North Africa

Barnabas calls for prayer and political intervention

Barnabas Aid is calling for urgent prayer and political intervention after Al-Qaeda said Christians everywhere are "legitimate targets" following the bloody siege at a Baghdad church on Sunday.

iraq-church-nov-104X3.jpg
A door to the Baghdad church
riddled with bullet holes

The Islamic State of Iraq, an Al-Qaeda front group, claimed responsibility for the attack that left 58 people dead and, in a statement on Tuesday, said that the "killing sword will not be lifted".

The threat was extended to "all Christian centres, organisations and institutions, leaders and followers" when a 48-hour deadline expired for the release of Muslim women the group falsely claims that the Egyptian Church is holding captive.

This was one of the demands made by the armed militants who took around 100 worshippers hostage during an evening service at the church in Baghdad on Sunday (31 October). They also demanded the release of Al-Qaeda prisoners held in Iraq. Dozens of Christians, as well as security forces and attackers, died in the ensuing fighting, with scores more wounded. Among the victims were Raghada al-Wafi, who was pregnant, and Thar Abdallah, the church minister who had conducted her wedding ceremony.

Heightened fears

The latest Al-Qaeda threat has heightened fears for Iraq's beleaguered Christian community, as well as the Egyptian Church (press release 25 Oct - Egyptian Christians threatened with a “bloodbath” by Islamists) and believers across the Middle East. A senior Iraqi church leader said yesterday that it could force Christians to leave the country.

Sunday's siege was the deadliest recorded attack against Iraq's Christians, who have endured repeated violence since the US-led invasion in 2003. Hundreds of thousands have been forced to flee as a result of the attacks, their numbers falling from 1.5 million in 1990 to perhaps as low as 400,000 today.

Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Aid, said:

Christians across the Middle East region are now in a highly perilous situation. We must fervently pray for their safety and also exert pressure on international governments to protect their Christian citizens.

Please write to your elected representative and ask them to raise this as a matter of urgency with the relevant government department (for UK readers please ask your MP to raise it with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office).

Give Today:

If you would like to donate to help our Christian brothers and sisters who suffer brutal treatment because of their faith please send your donation to project 00-345 (Victims of Violence). Please click to donate online using our secure server.

If you prefer to telephone, dial: 0800 587 4006 from within the UK or +44 1672 565031 from outside the UK. Please quote project reference 00-345 (Victims of Violence).

If you prefer to send a cheque by post: Click this link for the address of our regional office. Please quote project reference 00-345 (Victims of Violence).

For a quick donation of £3.00 by SMS (see terms and conditions here) text Barnabas/345 to 70007 (Please note: This facility is presently only available to UK supporters).

Please Pray:
  • That there will be no further violence in Iraq following Sunday's attack and subsequent co-ordinated bombings of Shiite districts.
  • That Al-Qaeda's threats will not be carried out and that Christians across the Middle East will be kept safe.
  • That governments will step in to protect their Christian citizens and take swift action against perpetrators of violence.
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Christians everywhere “legitimate targets” – Al-Qaeda

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christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

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Daily prayer

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  • “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 17 hours ago

  • 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

  • Indians have started going to the polls this week in a general election that is taking place in phases until 12 May. The ruling, secular Congress party is expected to be defeated by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). This would be an ominous outcome for the country’s Christian minority. The BJP has given support to extremist groups that attack Christians; states under the party’s rule have generally experienced a rise in anti-Christian violence. It has introduced anti-conversion laws on a state level, and has pledged to introduce national legislation to curb "missionary" activity and end proselytising if elected nationally. Pray for wisdom for Indians as they vote and that the outcome will result in a just government that upholds the rights and freedoms of all citizens. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sat, Apr 2014 00:00

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