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Afghanistan

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The Afghan parliament has issued death threats against Christian converts from Islam

Afghanistan is one of the most hazardous countries in the world for Christians. They live in constant danger of violent persecution by armed groups and also by the government, which threatens to wield the death penalty against those who convert from Islam.

In July 2013 Members of Parliament in Afghanistan called for converts from Islam to Christianity to be killed, in accordance with sharia law. The parliamentary speaker ordered the country’s national security services to take serious steps to stop the spread of Christianity, and the Afghan media launched a vitriolic campaign against Christian converts.

Afghan Christians are thought to number around 1,200 and are all converts from Islam or children of converts. Although none has been executed, a number have been arrested and jailed for a time, and on their release many have fled abroad to escape further persecution. There is deep-rooted public hostility to apostates from Islam, leading to discrimination, harassment and occasional violence against them; converts may lose their spouses and jobs and be rejected by their families. The extremist Taliban have also threatened to target Christians.

Most Christians do not state their beliefs publicly or gather openly for worship. There are no public churches or Christian schools, and believers worship alone or in small congregations in private homes. Anyone suspected of involvement in Christian activities is liable to harassment, and any kind of missionary endeavour may attract fierce opposition.

The conditions of Christians have not been much better under the current government than under the Taliban, an extreme Islamist movement that controlled Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001.

Although the Afghan constitution declares that non-Muslims are free to practise their faith, it also states that “no law can be contrary to the beliefs and provisions of the sacred religion of Islam”. In practice a restrictive interpretation of sharia has become the law of the land.

Despite the desperate situation faced by Christians, the Lord is working in remarkable ways in Afghanistan; house churches there are reportedly seeing more people come to Christ. 

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

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    • 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 3 hours ago

    • 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

    • The case of an Egyptian Christian man arrested following complaints by Muslim neighbours that he had been using his home as a church without a permit highlights the need of the Christian community for more places of worship. The 55-year-old man from Minya in Upper Egypt, where Christians are particularly vulnerable to persecution, was arrested once before, in 2011, for the same offence. Every church building in Egypt requires a permit, but these are notoriously difficult to obtain. Pray that the authorities will show leniency to the Christian man and that a provision in the new constitution addressing the issue of church buildings will be enacted. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Sep 2014 00:00

    • Kidnapping for ransom has been a persistent problem for the Christian community in Egypt amid the political upheaval and instability following the “Arab Spring” revolution of 2011. On 14 June, Wadie Ramses, a well-known surgeon, was seized in El-Arish. The assailants opened fire on his vehicle and took him away wounded. They later demanded a ransom of ten million Egyptian Pounds (£800,000; US$1.4 million) for his release. Two days later, Christian merchant Gemal Shenouda was captured near his home in the same city. It is thought that Islamic militants with links to al-Qaeda, who have been behind escalating violence in the Sinai region, are responsible for the kidnappings. Pray for the safe return of our two Christian brothers and that they and their families will know the Lord’s peace. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Sep 2014 00:00

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