Wednesday, July 29, 2009

015. July Update; incl. China, Eritrea, North Korea, Somalia

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 015 | Wed 29 Jul 2009

JULY 2009 END-OF-MONTH UPDATE AND ROUND-UP

UPDATE - During July we prayed for . . .

EGYPT, where communal Islamic violence against Egypt's indigenous Coptic Christians is both escalating and intensifying as government-sponsored 'reconciliation' sessions establish that Muslims may persecute Christians with impunity.

PAKISTAN, where an outbreak of communal Islamic violence against a Christian minority community in north-eastern Punjab left more than 100 Christian families homeless, terrorised and (as in Egypt) without justice.

IRAQ, where churches have once again been bombed in an orchestrated terror campaign designed to drive the indigenous Assyrian-Chaldean Christian community out of Iraq.

RUSSIA, where anti-cult, anti-sectarian (i.e. anti-Protestant) agitator Alexander Dvorkin continues to spread religious intolerance and hatred. Pray that his message will not become popular, take root or spread across the region.


ROUND-UP - Also in July . . .

* CHINA: SYSTEMATIC PERSECUTION AS USUAL

On 23 July 09 Public Security Bureau and Religious Affairs Bureau officials raided a Christian youth summer camp in Nanyang city, Henan Province. The more than 20 student participants -- all under 18 -- were taken into detention, interrogated and then released. Two leaders, Ms Cheng Ping (40) and Ms Miao Miao (30), were sent to the Yongan Lu Detention Centre in Nanyang city and sentenced to administrative detention. The length of sentence is unknown as church leaders have been threatened and warned not to speak of the case to outsiders. Pray that God will confound all the schemes of the wicked with continued, unstoppable Church growth. Pray for China's imprisoned Christians and their families. 'Jehovah jireh' - the Lord will provide.


* ERITREA: ANOTHER CHRISTIAN DIES IN CAPTIVITY

Compass Direct reports that on 23 July 09, Yemane Kahasay Andom (43), a member of the Kale-Hiwot church in Mendefera, died 18 months after being incarcerated in the Mitire Military Confinement Centre in north-east Eritrea. Tortured for refusing to sign a form recanting his faith, Andom was then put into solitary confinement in an underground cell. Weakened by the torture and critically ill with untreated malaria, he died two weeks later. Andom is the third believer to die in custody this year and the ninth since the persecution began in May 2005. In January, Christians Mogos Hagos Kiflom (37) and Mehari Gebreneguse Asgedom (42) died from torture in the same facility. Some 3000 mostly Protestant Christians are imprisoned for their faith in Eritrea, which is one of the world's worst religious liberty violators. Pray for God to intervene in Eritrea.


* NORTH KOREA: EXECUTION, TORTURE AND COLLECTIVE PUNISHMENT

According to a 23 July report from the South Korean Investigative Commission on Crime Against Humanity, the North Korean regime publicly executed Christian mother of three, Ri Hyon Ok (33), in the north-western city of Ryongchon (near the border with China) on 16 June for the crime of distributing the Bible. Ri was also accused of spying for South Korea and the United States and of organising dissidents. The Commission's report stated that her husband, children and parents were sent to a political prison camp in the north-eastern city of Hoeryong the day after her execution. The Commission also reported that North Korean security agents recently arrested and tortured another Christian, Seo Kum Ok (30), near Ryongchon. Likewise accused of spying, it is unknown whether Seo survived. Her husband was then arrested and their two children have since disappeared. Pray for the persecuted church in North Korea.


* SOMALIA: CHRISTIANS HUNTED AND EXECUTED

On 10 July, Somalia's al-Qaeda-linked al Shaabab group publicly beheaded seven people in the town of Baidoa for being 'Christians'. They were also accused of being spies. This news came only days after Compass Direct (CD) reported that in February al Shaabab seized and beheaded the 11- and 13-year-old sons of Somali Christian Musa Mohammed Yusuf (55) after he refused to divulge information about a local church leader. Yusuf, his wife and third son aged seven have fled to Kenya. On 20 July, al Shabaab militants found and executed Somali Christian Mohammed Sheikh Abdiraman who had converted to Christianity 15 years ago. Sources told CD that Abdiraman (a widower with children aged 10 and 15) was the leader of an underground cell group of Christians. 'We are very sad about this incident, and we also are not safe,' one eyewitness told CD by telephone. 'Pray for us.'

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In the face of such severe persecution, please pray that the Holy Spirit will guard and strengthen the faith of every persecuted believer. May God confound all opposition and do 'far more abundantly than all we ask or think' (Ephesians 3:20 ESV) as he continues to build his church as promised (Matthew 16:18).

'Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck.' (Psalm 69:1 ESV)

'I am afflicted and in pain; let your salvation, O God, set me on high!' (v29)