Updates on the Persecuted Church – July 11, 2023

July 12, 2023

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Islamist group issues threat against Pakistan Christians after burning of Quran in Sweden by Iraqi self-described atheist; Twelve killed in attacks on Christian communities in Plateau State, Nigeria; Nagorno-Karabakh blockade enters seventh month

Dr. Azad Marshall, President of the Church of Pakistan, issued a statement on behalf of Pakistani church leaders condemning the burning of a Quran in Sweden, which he said was intended “to sow discord and damage peace in the world.” “We always have [raised] and will continue to raise our voices against such recurring religiously provocative actions,” he added. “Such acts overtly encourage hatred, exclusion, and racism.” [Image credit: Asian and Multicultural Ministries in Canada]

  • An Islamist terrorist group has threatened to “make Pakistan a hell for Christianity” in response to a Quran-burning incident in Sweden. The Lahore-based Lashkar-e-Jhangvi declared, “Neither the Church nor Christians will now remain safe in Pakistan. [We will] take revenge for the desecration of the Quran by waging suicide attacks on Christians of Pakistan.” However, in a statement by Dr. Azad Marshall, President of the Church of Pakistan, Pakistani church leaders said that they “denounce the burning of the Holy Quran,” adding, “Freedom of speech and expression should never be used as a means to despise others.” Ask the Lord to protect His people in Pakistan, and anywhere else that vulnerable Christians face the consequences of actions undertaken in the West.
  • At least 12 people were killed in night-time attacks on two communities in the Mangu Local Government Area (LGA) of Plateau State, Nigeria, on July 8. Islamist militants are suspected of carrying out the assaults on Farinkasa Kerana and Sabon Gari in which homes were set on fire, causing residents to flee. The bloodshed took place less than a month after 14 people were killed by suspected Islamists during attacks on two Mangu LGA villages on June 13. Pray for comfort for the bereaved and the displaced, and ask that their needs will be met. Ask the Lord to intervene to end the ongoing violence in the region.
  • Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian Christian region within the territory of Azerbaijan, has been cut off from Armenia for seven months. Azerbaijan began its blockade of the Lachin Corridor, the only land route linking Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, on December 12, 2022. Pray for an end to the blockade, which has caused shortages of food, medicines, and other necessities. Give thanks for aid provided by Barnabas, and ask the Lord to continue to bless our efforts on behalf of our brothers and sisters in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Related Countries

Armenia, Nigeria, Pakistan