Barnabas Aid - International Headquarters River Street, Pewsey, Wilthire. Phone: +44 1672 565030 Latitude: 51 deg 23 min 18 sec N Longitude: 1 deg 45 min 48 sec W .
Prayer Focus 07/09

Email:

Prayer Focus 07/09

To

Email address:
Separate multiple addresses with a comma (,). Maximum of 10

From

Your name:
Your email address:
Security test:
Please enter the numbers that appear here in the box below.
refresh captcha
CAPTCHA Image
Security code:

Details provided here will never be used in any other context

Prayer Focus 07/09

IRAN - WORST POLITICAL UNREST FOR 30 YEARS CAUSES CONCERN AMONG THE CHURCHES

NEPAL - CHURCH BOMBING AMIDST POLITICAL UNREST

EGYPT - CHURCH AND HOMES ATTACKED

PAKISTAN - CHRISTIAN STONED TO DEATH FOR ORDERING TEA FROM 'MUSLIM-ONLY' STALL

CHINA - INTIMIDATION TACTICS CHANGED

EGYPT - UPDATE ON ID CARD AMENDMENT FOR CHRISTIAN CONVERT

IRAN - WORST POLITICAL UNREST FOR 30 YEARS CAUSES CONCERN AMONG THE CHURCHES

Church leaders in Iran are increasingly concerned by the political instability that is wracking Iranian politics and disrupting life in Tehran. History shows that such unrest leads all too readily to disorder and lawlessness, especially where religious minorities are concerned. Combined with the hardening of the rhetorical tone from the Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei, and the religious tension that already exists in Iran, such concerns almost seem understated.

• Praise God that at the time of writing there had been no escalation of attacks on Christians or the Church in Iran. Pray that with the foreign media blackout currently imposed, no advantage may be taken of the increased secrecy to attack Iranian believers.

Back to top

NEPAL - CHURCH BOMBING AMIDST POLITICAL UNREST

A group who claimed responsibility for killing a pastor in Nepal earlier this year are reported to be behind the first bombing of a church in Nepalese history. The bomb exploded in a building in Lalitpur, south of Kathmandu, on 23 May. A female student, 15-year old Celestina Joseph, and Pabitra Paitri, who was 30, died in the blast, and more than a dozen people were injured.

Last year the Hindu group the National Defence Army (NDA) said that it had bombed a mosque, killing two people there as well. According to reports, they claim to want to restore the traditional Hindu monarchy. This incident has only added to the instability that is brewing in Nepalese politics, with Maoist Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal resigning after President Ram Baran Yadav refused to agree to his demand to sack the current army chief of staff.

While the new Prime Minister tries to form his cabinet, there have been protests and strikes that have shut down Kathmandu, led by groups that are trying to take advantage of the power struggles within the fledgling political system. Rumours suggest that the NDA have been threatening to bomb the homes and churches of local Christians, seeking to extort money from them by threatening their safety.

• Pray that the new Prime Minister, Madhay Kumar Nepal, may be able to form a cabinet to end the political limbo. Pray that he will ensure full religious liberty in Hindu-majority Nepal.

• Pray that the rumours that the NDA want to extend their campaign of forcible expulsion of Christians may remain just rumours.

Back to top

EGYPT - CHURCH AND HOMES ATTACKED

On Sunday 21 June a mob of Egyptian Muslims attacked a church in the village of Ezbet Boshra-East, El-Fashn. They destroyed the minster's car, smashed windows in the church and assaulted the Christians with clubs and other weapons, wounding 25 of them. Homes belonging to local Christians were also attacked: people were assaulted, furniture destroyed and electrical equipment looted. Security forces joined in the assaults and vandalism, and they forcibly detained 19 Christians.

The next day the minister was ordered to appear before local prosecutors on charges of sectarian sedition. He and several members of his congregation, including three small children, had taken refuge inside the church, where they were besieged by the security forces. Telephone and internet connections from the village were cut to prevent the Christians from contacting the outside world.

The incident began when six Christians who live outside the village came to visit the minister. The security police tried to prevent them from entering the village, but eventually they were admitted for a time. Later a police officer asked them to leave, only for them to be confronted by the mob, who harassed them and struck a woman in the face. The Muslims then began to attack the church building.The minister claimed that the security forces wanted to use the unrest as grounds for reporting that the village is unfit to have a church, despite half its population being Christians. "Such savagery!" he said. "It broke my heart to see my congregation treated in such a beastly and barbaric way."

In a positive development, residents of the village of Deir Abu Hanas were able to celebrate a decision by the local governor to allow them to retain its name. The Ministry of Justice had ruled that this be changed, but residents believe that the name expresses the village's Christian identity, which dates from the fifth century, when it was built next to a prominent monastery named after Bishop Yuhannas Al Kaseer.

• Pray for the minister and church who were attacked in El-Fashn, that the Lord will give them patience and courage in their distress.

• Pray for the security forces, that they will bring to justice those responsible for the assaults, and stop harassing the Christian community without reason.

• Give thanks that the villagers of Deir Abu Hanas can retain its name. Pray that the Egyptian authorities will deal even-handedly with Christians and Muslims.

Back to top

PAKISTAN - CHRISTIAN STONED TO DEATH FOR ORDERING TEA FROM 'MUSLIM-ONLY' STALL

Recent reports from the Punjab have highlighted a grievous case of religious violence. On May 9, Ishtiaq Masih had disembarked from a bus that had stopped in Machharkay village to give the passengers an opportunity for rest and refreshment. A sign hung on the roadside tea stall, which read, "All non-Muslims should introduce their faith prior to ordering tea. This stall serves Muslims only." Ishtiaq failed to see this and paid for the mistake with his life.

When Ishtiaq went to pay for his tea the owner noticed his necklace with a cross on it. The owner called on his employees to punish the Christian for not abiding by the sign. A group of men then beat Ishtiaq to death with whatever they could lay their hands on, including stones from the ground on which he lay. Villagers and bus passengers managed to intervene to break up the beating, but Ishtiaq died from his extensive injuries at a rural health centre.

His family have reported the incident, and although no action has been taken to apprehend the stall holder, the local police chief has gone on record promising that investigations are under way and that this is being treated as a faith-based murder.

• Please pray for the family of Ishtiaq and his friends, that they may comfort each other at this time and that this may be an end and not a beginning of such attacks.

• Pray for the local police chief, that he may act justly and investigate this incident with equity, in accordance with the Pakistani constitution. Pray that he may start by taking down the sign on the stall as a signal to the community that such attitudes are not lawful.

• Pray that Christians in Pakistan may not be discriminated against because of their faith or caste. Pray that all persecution of our Christian brothers and sisters may end soon.

Back to top

CHINA - INTIMIDATION TACTICS CHANGED

Baixiang Town church near Zhejiang in eastern China has been subject to a worrying new trend of violence through infiltration. Reports suggest that a group has been disrupting services by tampering with electrical and audio equipment, preventing churches from meeting and even attacking worshippers. The group is believed to be acting with state support.

In the worst reported incident to date, church member Huang Lemin volunteered to fix the damaged wiring only to be set upon by several of the infiltrators. He was hit in the face and his glasses were knocked to the floor. Unable to see without them, he could not defend himself and was badly beaten about the head, suffering a broken nose and concussion. However, six weeks later Huang was himself accused by one of his attackers of intentionally causing injury and was consequently arrested and detained.

This has happened against a backdrop of other concerning developments. A prominent Church leader has encouraged the faithful in China to stand firm in faith even to the point of martyrdom. This was in response to a perceived increase in pressure from the state and the state-sponsored church. An example of this is the obstruction by three different state agencies of the completion of a new church building that is being constructed in Menzhou, central China.

• Give thanks that the Shouwang church in south-eastern China was allowed to start up a new website two months after the police closed it down. Pray that it can remain online serving the congregation and their community.

• Pray for Huang Lemin, that his case can be heard fairly and that justice can be done. Pray for his lawyers as they meet with witnesses and for his church as they continue to suffer persecution.

Back to top

EGYPT - UPDATE ON ID CARD AMENDMENT FOR CHRISTIAN CONVERT

On 13 June, an Egyptian court ruled against Maher al-Gohari, an Egyptian Christian convert who had been campaigning to have his religious status changed on his ID card.

As reported last month, Maher travelled abroad to obtain a baptismal certificate, in order to have his conversion to Christianity recognised by the Egyptian church, who then issued a letter of acceptance into church membership.

His application failed on the grounds that the certificate had not been formally confirmed by the Egyptian church, and therefore it was invalid. The judge also stated that no legal documents verifying the need for Maher's card to be amended had been submitted to the court, although in fact no competent body exists to provide these, as conversion from Islam is not a legal concept.

Maher's legal team are preparing to appeal against the ruling, as they believe the judge interpreted Egypt's Civil Code in an extremely restrictive way. This included accepting a State Council report which states: "the religious conversion of a Muslim is against Islamic law and poses a threat to public order."

• Pray that all parties involved in this case will act with integrity and that Maher al-Gohari's legal team will know God's wisdom as the case continues.

• Pray that Maher's case will ultimately be successful, allowing his ID card to be changed and thus setting a precedent for other Christian converts.

• Pray that Maher and his daughter, also a Christian, will know the presence and peace of Jesus each day.

Back to top

 

 

Help us: Share this article

Email:

Prayer Focus 07/09

To

Email address:
Separate multiple addresses with a comma (,). Maximum of 10

From

Your name:
Your email address:
Security test:
Please enter the numbers that appear here in the box below.
refresh captcha
CAPTCHA Image
Security code:

Details provided here will never be used in any other context

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

Follow Barnabas

or

receive news & appeal emails as they are published

From Twitter

From Twitter_icon

    Daily prayer

    Daily prayer_icon
    • “The cathedral in Damaturu now has only about 40 members instead of 450 members. The church in Potiskum now has only about 15 members instead of 500 members… the southern part of [Yobe state] is still very dangerous and most of the churches here have closed down.” A senior church leader in Nigeria wrote to Barnabas Aid in August about the impact on the Church of Boko Haram’s violence. Nevertheless Christians were still holding worship services every Sunday, discipling the young people and even commissioning pastors. Praise God for such perseverance, and pray that a Christian presence and witness may remain in north-east Nigeria. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 8 hours ago

    • Heavenly Father, we pray to You for our Christian brothers and sisters in north-eastern Nigeria, who are so vulnerable in the face of attacks by Boko Haram militants. We remember especially those who used to live in Madagali, in Adamawa state, until their town was seized by Boko Haram two months ago. We think of those who were betrayed into the hands of Boko Haram by their neighbours pointing out Christian homes or places where Christians had hidden. We bring before You those who saw their menfolk beheaded, and women forcibly converted to Islam. We cry out to You to intervene and bring an end to the murderous attacks by Boko Haram. We pray for all the thousands of Nigerian Christians who have suffered in similar attacks that they will not lose hope or faith in You, but will know Your peace which passes understanding. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Oct 2014 00:00

    • Pray for a pastor in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania whose home was attacked on 17 May; two of his children were injured. When he went to report the incident to the police, he was falsely accused of raping a young woman who had left Islam to follow Christ. The pastor had taken her into his home, along with four other converts, after she was thrown out by her family; it was they who made the accusation against him. He has faced much opposition because of his fruitful outreach to Muslims, and several failed attempts have been made to frame him with false accusations. Pray that the sovereign Lord will help him and that he will not be disgraced (Isaiah 50:7-9). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Oct 2014 00:00

    • A church on Mafia Island, part of the Zanzibar archipelago, was attacked on 9 May by around 80 young Muslim men armed with arrows and knives. The church members, who are mainly converts from Islam, had gathered for their weekly overnight prayer session when the attackers appeared, shouting “death to ritad’i” (those who leave Islam). They set fi re to the church, leaving the interior in ruins, and then went in search of the pastor, but he was not at home. The incident followed a bomb blast at another church in Mwanza in mainland Tanzania on 5 May, in which a worker at the church rest house was critically injured. Pray that the authorities will effectively address the increasing incidence of attacks against churches. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sat, Oct 2014 00:00

    • Cry out to the Lord for the many Christian victims of kidnapping by Boko Haram in Nigeria. Remember especially the more than two hundred teenage girls who were taken from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Borno state, on the night of 14 April. A video released in May showed eight of the girls speaking about their ordeal; they plead for their release, and one says, “I never expected to suffer like this in my life.” It is believed that they have been divided into at least four groups and that most of them are being held in camps outside Nigeria. They are hungry, while some are unwell and need medical attention. Pray for their safe release and for that of other kidnapped Christians. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Fri, Oct 2014 00:00

    © Barnabas Aid 1997 - 2014 All rights reserved.
    Barnabas Aid is a registered trade mark