By Elizabeth Kendal
Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin (RLPB) 136
Special to ASSIST News Service
AUSTRALIA (ANS) -- We must understand the times in which we live (Luke 12:54-56): persecution is escalating at an alarming rate. So: 'Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.' (Ephesians 6:18b NLT)
NOVEMBER 2011 UPDATE -- During November we prayed concerning . . .
NOVEMBER 2011 UPDATE -- During November we prayed concerning . . .
BURMA (RLPB 132), where ethnic Kachin Christians are being driven from their lands behind a smokescreen of mini-'reforms'.
* UPDATE: KACHIN IMPERILED; BURMA REWARDED.
Ten people were killed (all children) and 27 were injured on Sunday evening 13 November when a parcel bomb was thrown into an orphanage in Myitkyinar, Kachin State, during a study. The owner-manager of the orphanage, Dayaung Tangoon, was away travelling with Christian pastors at the time. Though Tangoon, a leader in the Kachin community, lost a son, a daughter and grandchild in the attack, he was arrested. Meanwhile the 27 wounded, including Tangoon's wife, are in hospital, barred from receiving visitors. Furthermore, the regime is deploying chemical weapons against the Kachin. Residents of Mai Ja Yang village recently fled their homes reporting toxic and caustic 'yellow rain'. Likewise, residents fleeing Prang Ngawn village in western Kachin also reported that a plane had delivered 'yellow rain' to their village. On 17 November the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) announced that Myanmar (Burma) will chair ASEAN in 2014. Pray for the besieged Christian Kachin of northern Burma.
NIGERIA (RLPB 133), where the al-Qaeda-linked terror group Boko Haram, which wants Nigeria run as an Islamic State, is escalating its campaign of terror against Christian, educational and democratic institutions across the north.
* UPDATE 1: BOKO HARAM STRIKES IN YOBE STATE. On Saturday 26 November Boko Haram unleashed another wave of terror, this time targeting Geidam Local Government Area, Yobe State (north-east Nigeria). Armed with Kalashnikov rifles and explosives, the militants bombed Geidam police station, freeing suspects and looting the armoury before rampaging through the town, robbing a bank and looting a shopping complex. They torched numerous businesses, an abandoned beer parlour, a court, the local government secretariat and at least eight churches. Four police were killed. When claiming responsibility for terrorising Geidam, Boko Haram warned: 'Until all our members in detention are released and the Yobe state government stops intimidating and harassing our members we will continue carrying out attacks in the state.'
* UPDATE 2: MUSLIMS MASSACRE CHRISTIANS IN PLATEAU STATE. Compass Direct News reports that Fulani Muslim herdsmen, backed by Muslim soldiers, recently killed 45 ethnic Berom Christians around the town of Barkin Ladi in Plateau State. After accusing the Berom Christians of stealing cattle, the Fulani Muslims started randomly killing Christians: three on 20 November, two on 21st and another beheaded on 22nd. On Wednesday 23rd the Muslims attacked a church in Barkin Ladi, killing four Christians. The next day, straight after the morning call to prayer, hundreds of armed Muslims joined forces in a major assault. Chanting 'Allahu akbar' (Allah is great) they massacred nine Christians in Barkin Ladi and 26 Christians in nearby Kwok village. Please pray for the Church in Nigeria.
SUDAN (RPLB 134), where genocidal ethnic cleansing continues in the north (in South Kordofan and Blue Nile), while an oil war looms over South Sudan, threatening to engulf not only the whole nation but the wider region.
UGANDA (RLPB 135), which is launching a fresh offensive against the LRA, assisted by 100 US Special Forces troops. It is urgent that we pray for a spiritual breakthrough so that multitudes of the LRA -- most of whom are just kidnapped, traumatised, brainwashed children -- might be spiritually and physically freed to leave the LRA for rehabilitation. Pray for the religious leaders who are working to this end, especially for the Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative. Pray that Ugandan Christians will unite across tribal lines to address historic injustices and inequity, for the sake of long-lasting peace and for the glory of God.
NOVEMBER 2011 ROUND-UP -- also this month . . .
* 'ARAB SPRING': ISLAMIST POWER RISES ACROSS NORTH AFRICA
1) TUNISIA: EVIDENCE OF RADICAL IDEOLOGY SLIPS OUT
Last month, Tunisia's Islamist, long-banned Ennahda party emerged victorious winning 89 of 217 assembly seats in the first election of the 'Arab Spring'. Ennahda has been striving to present itself as 'moderate'. Yet on 13 November Tunisia's new Prime Minister, Ennahda's Hamadi Jebali, told a rally, 'My brothers, you are at a historic moment in a new cycle of civilisation, God willing. We are in a sixth caliphate, God willing.' With a Hamas MP by his side, Jebali declared that 'the liberation of Tunisia will, God willing, bring about the liberation of Jerusalem'. When this upset his prospective coalition partners, Jabali simply said his words had been misunderstood and taken out of context.('Moderate' and jihadist Islamists have the same radical goal and differ only regarding tactics.) Pray for the Church in Tunisia.
2) MOROCCO: ISLAMISTS WIN ELECTIONS
Last week Morocco's Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD) emerged victorious, winning 107 of 395 assembly seats in the second election of the 'Arab Spring'. Though being lauded in the West as 'moderate', the PJD is the political wing of the Uniqueness and Reform movement which represents the Muslim Brotherhood in Morocco. Earlier this year, as the Middle East simmered in discontent, Morocco's ruling elite lessened the risk of mass revolt by enacting constitutional 'reforms'. According to the new constitution, Morocco is no longer a 'unitary sovereign state', but a 'Muslim sovereign state'. And whilst clause three of the preamble was amended to include the goal of 'deepening the sense of belonging to the Arab-Islamic umma [nation/community]', clause two of article 25 that guaranteed the 'freedom of conscience' was dropped entirely. Of the Moroccans who voted, 98.5 percent approved the constitutional amendments. Pray for the Church in Morocco.
3) EGYPT: MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD RISING
Egyptians are now voting in what is the third election of the 'Arab Spring'. The Islamist Muslim Brotherhood's long-banned Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) is widely expected to do well in a three-stage legislative election that began on Monday 28 November and concludes in January.
There have been numerous reports of vote-buying and religious sloganeering. Christians are mostly voting for the Egyptian Bloc list headed by the liberal Free Egyptians Party, which is strongly opposed to the FJP. They are anxious about the future. If Islamist power rises in Egypt, the Copts will be in a very vulnerable situation indeed. Even now the media, the army, the Salafists and masses of radicalised 'loyal' Muslims are ready to subjugate the Copts as dhimmis under Islam. According to Islam, any resistance to dhimmitude may be met with jihad (slaughter). Pray for the Church in Egypt.
* INDIA: PERSECUTION RAMPANT IN KARNATAKA (south-west India)
Since coming under the rule of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2008, persecution of Christians has escalated in Karnataka. On Saturday 26 November members of the Bethel Ministry Church were praying together in a home on the outskirts of Kushalnagar village, Karnataka, when a mob of Hindu militants burst in. After accusing the Christians of engaging in forced conversions, the militants called the police who came and arrested a Mrs Janakiyamma, taking her to Madikeri Prison. This is the 41st case of anti-Christian persecution officially registered in Karnataka this year.
Two other church groups were attacked in Karnataka during the month, both in the district of Hassan. On 12 November six members of the Ministry of Bethel Church were attacked as they waited for a bus after attending a prayer service. The militants beat the believers and marched them off to the police station where they were subsequently placed under arrest. After an intervention by the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) three women and a child were released but the men are still imprisoned. The next day Pastor Nagaraj, of the Church of Immanuel Prarthanalaya in Arkalgud, had just started the Sunday service when a mob of Hindu militants stormed the church and began tearing up Bibles. When the police arrived they arrested the pastor and three believers who are still in prison. This is India! Pray for the Church in India.
* NEPAL: RELIGIOUS LIBERTY UNDER ATTACK
A crude bomb exploded in Thapathali, Kathmandu, on 22 November, outside the offices of United Mission in Nepal (UMN), a Christian non-governmental organisation (NGO) that has been working to relieve poverty in Nepal since 1954. A second bomb was disarmed. No one was injured. Police found leaflets at the site from the Nepal Defense Army (NDA), a militant Hindu nationalist group that has targeted Christians previously. The leaflets accused the UMN of converting Hindus to Christianity. Then on the following Sunday, 27 November, a suspicious parcel was discovered outside the Assemblies of God Navajiwan Church in central Kathmandu.
The police bomb squad who defused the bomb said it contained three powerful explosives that would have done considerable damage had the bomb exploded. Meanwhile, on 22 Nov, two Christian brothers, Panchman Tamang and Buddhiman, were violently assaulted and expelled from their predominantly Buddhist village in Sindhupalchowk district, north of Kathmandu near the border with Tibet. Instead of defending religious liberty, the government is appeasing the belligerent by drafting anti-conversion laws. Pray for the Church in Nepal.
* VIETNAM: EXTREME VIOLENCE WITH IMPUNITY
Leaders of the 2200-member Agape Baptist Church (ABC) -- a house church network near Hanoi -- were violently assaulted on Sunday 13 November, Compass Direct News reports. They were meeting in Lai Tao village, Bot Xuyen commune, My Duc district at the home of evangelist Nguyen Thi Lan, a former Communist Party (female) official who recently converted to Christianity. Unhappy about conversions in the village, the gang of over a dozen local thugs (including plain-clothed police) burst in savagely beating the leaders while looting and ransacking the home.
Nine pastors and other church leaders along with several of their teenage children sustained serious injuries. Most critically injured was Pastor Nguyen Danh Chau who was unconscious for several hours. When ABC head Nguyen Cong Thanh visited on 15 November he said, 'All they could do was weep, and I also could not prevent my tears from flowing.' With local hospitals proving reluctant to aid the pastors, ABC eventually evacuated the most critically wounded to a hospital in Ho Chi Minh City. Ms Nguyen Thi Lan and Pastor Nguyen Danh Chau have suffered potentially crippling injuries. No one has been arrested and the gang is threatening to kill Nguyen Thi Lan if she ever returns. The impunity granted to the persecutors guarantees that persecution will only escalate. Pray for the Church in Vietnam.
|Elizabeth Kendal is an international religious liberty analyst and advocate. This prayer bulletin was initially written for the Australian Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission (AEA RLC).|
Elizabeth Kendal's blogs:
Religious Liberty Monitoring and Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin
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