Updates on the persecuted Church – 1 February 2023

31 January 2023

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At least 15 killed in Islamist attack on Christian areas of DRC; church officer killed and minister injured in Spanish terrorist attack; five Iranian Christian families face deportation from Turkey; Indonesian president urges local authorities to respect religious freedom.  

  • Islamists are believed to be responsible for the deaths of at least 15 people in Christian-majority Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Simultaneous attacks took place on three villages in Ituri province, north-eastern DRC, in the early hours of Sunday 29 January. Islamist group Allied Democratic Forces was reported two weeks ago to have carried out a church bombing that left at least 17 dead. Pray for peace and security in this troubled region of Africa.
  • A church officer was killed and a church minister seriously injured in machete attacks on two churches in Algeciras, southern Spain, on 25 January. The National Court of Spain said that the incident “can be classified as a directed jihadist attack”. Ask the Lord to comfort members of both congregations and the wider community, and pray for His protection wherever churches are vulnerable to attack.
  • Five Iranian Christian families, mostly converts from Islam, are facing deportation from Turkey. The families – consisting of 17 people, including children as young as three – are currently being held in Turkish “removal centres”. They have reported abuses such as the separation of men from their wives and children, unsanitary conditions, adulterated food and denial of medicine. Pray urgently that the situation of our brothers and sisters will be alleviated and that, if possible, they will find a safe place to settle.
  • Indonesian president Joko Widodo has reminded provincial and local authorities that they should be upholding religious freedom. Christians can sometimes be denied, for example, permission to construct church buildings by regional officials. President Joko said that Christians and other non-Muslims “have the same right to worship. They have the same rights in terms of freedom of religion and worship.” Give thanks for the words of President Joko, and pray that they will be heeded.