Tuesday, May 27, 2014

RLPB 262. May Update, Incl.North Korea, Sudan, Pakistan, Iraq, China, Iran, Mozambique, Somalia, Nuba Mts

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 262 | Wed 28 MAY 2014

By Elizabeth Kendal

MAY 2014 UPDATE -- During May we prayed concerning ...

* CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC (CAR) (RLPB 259), where anti-balaka militias are still driving local Muslims out of the capital Bangui, while ex-Seleka Islamic rebels are still terrorising Christian communities across the north. The country is tearing apart. Pray that God will bless the Church's peace-making efforts.

* KOREA (RLPB 260), where tensions are rising and rhetoric is increasingly belligerent, leading the North Korean regime to tighten controls and increase isolation, escalating the suffering and the risk for the North Korean Church.

UPDATE: On 13 May, a 23-storey apartment block in the capital Pyongyang collapsed, entombing more than 80 families. Despite a public apology from senior regime figures, locals are 'disappointed' and resentful, blaming regime corruption for both the collapse and the high death toll. There is considerable fear that other apartment blocks throughout the city might not be safe. Additionally, it has emerged that in March the regime executed Ri Kyung Ho (49), a stage-lighting engineer from the remote northern border city of Hyesan. Ri had been caught speaking by mobile phone to relatives in South Korea. Under interrogation, he allegedly revealed that he was assisting defectors. His family has been condemned to the gulag. The Church in North Korea needs our prayers.

* SUDAN (RLPB 261), where 8 months pregnant Meriam Ibrahim had been sentenced to death for apostasy, as well as to 100 lashes for adultery (after the court refused to recognise her marriage to a Christian man).

UPDATE: IT'S A GIRL  In the early hours of Tuesday 27 May, in the Health Centre Clinic of Omdurman Federal Prison for Women, Meriam gave birth to a baby girl, naming her Maya. Neither her husband Daniel, nor her lawyer have been permitted access to see them.

ANOTHER APOSTASY CASE:  Morning Star News (MSN) reports (27 May) that Sudan has imprisoned another Christian woman, similarly accused of apostasy and adultery. Faiza Abdalla (37) was arrested on 2 April after Immigration/Citizenship officials questioned her right to a Christian identity on the grounds that Abdalla is a Muslim name. On 8 April, a Sudanese court annulled Faiza's marriage to a South Sudanese Catholic and accused her of adultery. Faiza's parents converted before she was born, meaning they too might yet be accused of apostasy.

More on Sudan below.

[NOTE: Islam rejects the UN's definition of religious freedom, maintaining it is nothing more than a 'secular understanding of the Judeo-Christian tradition' (which it is) that violates Sharia Law.]


MAY 2014 ROUND-UP -- also this month ...

* GIRLS AT RISK 
As fundamentalist Islam takes root in many Muslim majority communities and nations, female children are increasing at risk of under-age forced marriage to Muslim men. It also means that Christian girls being kidnapped for forced conversion and marriage -- trafficked across religious lines -- will be younger as well.

In Pakistan, the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII -- a Sunni, government-funded advisory body) has decreed that Pakistan's marriage laws are 'un-Islamic'. The CII is recommending that the minimum age for girls to marry be abolished, saying girls may be married 'if the signs of puberty are visible'. The ruling has sparked intensive debate in Pakistan (including satire!).

In Iraq, the minimum age of marriage for girls is set to be lowered from 18 to 9 in accordance with Shia Islam. In February, the Maliki government approved a draft law, allegedly for political gain ahead of elections. Known as the Ja'afari Personal Status Law, the draft law says girls reach puberty at age nine and are therefore ready for marriage. It also states that a girl under nine may be married with the consent of her male guardian, for a price. [The law would also legalise marital rape and unrestricted polygamy (not requiring consent).] Now that the elections are over [30 April] and the Maliki regime is back in power, the stage is set for the law to be enacted.

For the sake of the children, the Church must pray for a great awakening amongst Muslims; may the light of Christ break through the darkness. (John 1:5)

* CHINA: WENZHOU CHURCHES UNDER FIRE
Updating RLPBs 255 & 258 (April 2014)
CAA

On 20 May China Aid Association (CAA) published a list of 64 churches across China's eastern business hub of Wenzhou city that have been 'rectified', demolished or issued notices since the crackdown began in February. In virtually every case it is the cross that is deemed offensive and 'rectification' usually involves the cross being removed. So this has nothing to do with building regulations: the authorities are not opposed to having impressive buildings in their city; they are only opposed to the crosses that identify those buildings as places of Christian worship. These 'rectifications' are about de-Christianising the skyline before people get the impression that Christianity is acceptable, inviting and growing. In addition, some 40 people have been summonsed by police or detained in connection with the protest at the Sanjiang church demolished on 28 April (RLPB 258). A serious battle has begun. Please pray, ' For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood . . .' (Ephesians 6:12-18 ESV)

* IRAN: SAEED ABEDINI BEATEN IN HOSPITAL, RETURNED TO PRISON

Pastor Saeed Abedini (34) is a US citizen who has been imprisoned in Iran since September 2012. In March (prior to Iran's nuclear talks with the US) Abedini was admitted to hospital for treatment for stomach injuries sustained during prison beatings. On 21 May (just after nuclear talks concluded) Abedini was seized violently and dragged out of the hospital by agents who beat and electrocuted him in front of distressed family members. Abedini has been returned to the maximum security Rajai Shahr Prison which houses violent criminals. [See RLPB 238 (26 Nov 2013).] In the US, Abedini's wife, Naghmeh, and advocate Jay Sekulow of the American Centre for Law and Justice told Fox News (news video) they feared that Iran is using Abedini as a political pawn.

* MOZAMBIQUE: SEEKING FIRMER FOUNDATIONS

Operation World lists Mozambique's population as being 46 percent Christian (half Catholic, half Protestant), 32 percent ethno-religious, and 19 percent Muslim. Mozambique's amazing church growth has come in the wake of decades of suffering. Mozambique has had religious freedom only since 1990 when it was written into the new constitution after decades of civil war and brutal Marxist repression and persecution. Christian leaders in this emerging democracy have drafted a submission to the national parliament requesting the formulation of a specific law to protect freedom of religion and worship. The aim is that 'the churches will have a better legal framework in which to operate'. They request our prayers. May God bless their efforts, build his Church and heal their land.

* SOMALIA: CHURCH LEADER MARTYRED

On 23 September 2008 Mansuur Mohammed (25), a humanitarian aid worker, became Somalia's first indigenous Christian martyr when al-Shabaab Islamic militants declared him a 'murtid' (traitor to Islam) and publicly beheaded him for refusing to renounce Christ. He had been a Christian for just three years. Since then, al-Shabaab has hunted down and executed dozens of Somali believers. On 23 May Morning Star News reported that a prominent convert, Abdishakur Yusuf, who oversaw five underground Christian fellowships, had been assassinated at his home on the outskirts of Mogadishu on Sunday 16 March. Mogadishu's gravely imperilled underground Christian community is absolutely shattered. For months after Yusuf's assassination they were too traumatised and afraid to speak out, but now they are requesting our prayers. Yusuf leaves a widow and three young children. Pray for the Church in Somalia.

* SUDAN: CHRISTIAN HOSPITAL BOMBED

The Government of Sudan (GoS) continues its aerial bombardment of displaced Nuba. On 1 May citizen journalists from NubaReports were filming a worship service at the Mother of Mercy Hospital in Gidel -- the only hospital in the Nuba Mountains -- when it came under aerial bombardment. [See film here]. The five bombs dropped on 1 May were followed by more the next day. While nobody was killed, hundreds disappeared into the bush, several sustained serious shrapnel injuries and buildings were damaged. In the days before the bombings, drones were observed flying over the area three times. As noted by Tom Catena, a US doctor with the Catholic Medical Mission Board who serves as the hospital's director, the bombing serves no other purpose than to disperse the Nuba and destroy their only hospital. Then on Monday 26 May GoS war-planes dropped eight bombs on the compound of the Nuba Relief, Rehabilitation and Development Organization (NRRDO). Though there were no casualties, the buildings sustained significant damage. [NRRDO's projects serve over 650,000 Nuba citizens living in areas controlled by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement - North (SPLM-N).]
NubaReports: Gidel
The GoS wants the Nuba dead and the regime is adept at using starvation as a weapon of mass destruction. In pursuit of genocide, the GoS is escalating its aerial bombardments of aid centres ahead of the rainy season, when getting supplies is almost impossible.  The GoS wants to ensure the Nuba are displaced and without means of survival. A delegation of the European Union to Sudan expressed its concern in a press release, noting that the deliberate bombing of the hospital is a 'war crime'. Doubtless Sudan's President -- the indicted war criminal Omar al-Bashir -- dismisses this EU statement for what it is: mere words.

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Lift your hands and pour out your hearts to the one who has real power and genuine interest! 

'The Lord looked and was displeased that there was no justice. He ... was appalled that there was no one to intervene; so his own arm achieved salvation for him, and his own righteousness sustained him. [...] According to what they have done, so will he repay . . . From the west, people will fear the name of the Lord, and from the rising of the sun, they will revere his glory. For he will come like a pent-up flood that the breath of the Lord drives along.' (From Isaiah 59:14-19 NIV)

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Elizabeth Kendal is the author of
Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah Speaks to Christians Today 
(Deror Books, Dec 2012).


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

RLPB 261. Sudan: Christian woman faces death for apostasy

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 261 | Wed 21 May 2014

SUDAN: CHRISTIAN WOMAN FACES DEATH FOR APOSTASY

By Elizabeth Kendal

On Thursday 15 May a court in Khartoum, Sudan, convicted Meriam Yehya Ibrahim Ishag (27) of apostasy and sentenced her to death by hanging. Having deemed her marriage to a Christian man null and void, the court also found Meriam guilty of adultery, for which she was sentenced to 100 lashes. The court ruled that Meriam, who is 8 months pregnant, should receive the 100 lashes once she has recovered from giving birth. She will be hanged in two years' time after she has weaned her infant.  Meriam and her first-born son, Martin Ibrahim (now 20 months), have been in Omdurman Federal Women's Prison since 17 February. Daniel Wani, Meriam's husband and Martin's father, is a South Sudanese American citizen. He is deeply concerned about the conditions under which Meriam will give birth.  Daniel's appeals to the US Embassy in Khartoum went unheeded for far too long.

Some sources say that Meriam was raised as a Christian by an Ethiopian Christian mother and, as such, never apostasised because she was never a Muslim. Others say Meriam was raised Muslim by a Muslim mother from a Muslim tribe, but then disappeared for several years before turning up again professing Christ and married to a Christian man. The details however are irrelevant as every human being -- no matter how or where they were raised and irrespective of their occupation or status -- must be free to seek after God.

One detail that is consistent though is that Meriam's father is Muslim. In Islam, religion is a state matter, as distinct from a faith matter. Sharia Law (Islamic law) mandates that children inherit the religion of their father. Consequently, any child born to a Muslim man is regarded as Muslim from birth and leaving Islam is forbidden. Sharia mandates that a Muslim woman cannot marry a Christian man unless he first converts to Islam to ensure the children are born Muslim. Anyone who says the rulings in Khartoum are contrary to Islam is either misinformed or is wanting to misinform. Islam underpins not only these rulings, but many thousands of honour killings committed annually, along with the impunity afforded the killers.

[For a full explanation see Religious Liberty Monitoring:
'Khartoum's rulings are totally consistent with Islam', 21 May 2014.]

Concerned somewhat by the extensive international outcry, the authorities in Khartoum have opened an escape hatch, letting it be known that the ruling is not final and can yet be appealed. However, the reality is, even if Meriam is acquitted on appeal or is eventually released on compassionate grounds, this family will remain gravely imperilled just as they are gravely imperilled right now. They are at risk from those who would spare no effort to take Islamic law into their own hands, restoring Islam's honour and eradicating fitna (temptation, strife, chaos). This family needs to be rescued out of Sudan.

PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY THAT GOD --

* the giver of life (Isaiah 42:5), will intervene in power to preserve the lives of Daniel, Meriam, little Martin and the new baby.

* the creator of families, will intervene in mercy and faithfulness to protect and preserve this faithful Christian family. '... they are no longer two but one flesh [cf. Gen 2:24]. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.' (Matthew 19:6 ESV)

* the Redeemer, will redeem this suffering -- and all the suffering caused by Islam -- by using it for his ultimate purpose: to bring down false religion so that God alone (the only Saviour) will be exalted. (See Isaiah 2:12-18); may momentum continue against the unreasonableness and inhumanity of Islam.

SUMMARY FOR BULLETINS UNABLE TO RUN THE WHOLE ARTICLE
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SUDANESE CHRISTIAN WOMAN FACES DEATH FOR APOSTASY


Professing Christians, Daniel Wani, a South Sudanese US citizen, and Meriam Ibrahim were married in Khartoum, Sudan, in 2012. However,  according to Islam, Meriam is a Muslim because her father is a Muslim. As it is illegal for a Muslim woman to marry a Christian man, in September 2013 officials in Khartoum deemed Daniel's and Meriam's marriage void. Accordingly she was charged with adultery and sentenced to 100 lashes. When she protested that she was a Christian, she was charged with apostasy (leaving Islam). She was found guilty on 15 May and sentenced to hang. The case has attracted international condemnation. This family -- Daniel, Meriam, Martin (aged 20 months) and the baby due very soon -- are gravely imperilled. They need to be rescued out of Sudan. Please pray.

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Elizabeth Kendal is the author of
Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah speaks to Christians today
(Deror Books, Dec 2012)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

RLPB 260. Korea: hopes for peace fade

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 260 | Wed 14 May 2014

KOREA: HOPES FOR PEACE FADE
By Elizabeth Kendal

Koreans desperately need peace, as distinct from a frozen conflict that regularly threatens to blow hot. North Korea boasts nuclear weapons and South Korea boasts support of the US military. If peace could be achieved and the two sides stop threatening each other then perhaps the situation could normalise and efforts to improve the lives of North Koreans would make headway. The alternatives to forging peace are the totally unacceptable status quo with its paranoia and related gross human rights abuses, or conflict with the prospect of the peninsula running red with blood.

As noted in RLPB 248 (19 February) and RLPB 251 (12 March), the North Korean regime's main concern is managing the state monopoly on information in the face of severe challenges posed by new communication technologies, while endeavouring to raise living standards so as to ward off revolt. Whenever the regime feels threatened it intensifies repression and magnifies propaganda. According to a 12 May report in DailyNK (from Seoul), because a wave of executions has failed to stem the inflow and sharing of banned materials, security forces are now conducting surprise night-time raids on homes in Pyongyang. Citizens accused of viewing, possessing or copying banned content -- particularly South Korean DVDs and magazines -- are exiled virtually immediately upon arrest. In the past two months, at least 100 Pyongyang citizens reportedly have been internally exiled, 'disappeared' to remote mountainous areas after night raids. According to the source, 'people are panic-stricken'. Though these exiles might be alive, they have lost not merely their homes, but all that is available only in the capital, such as food rations, water and electricity. The border with China has been tightened significantly to ensure that no South Korean content or recording equipment of any kind enters the state. Restrictions on the entry of journalists and on tourists talking to locals are being rigidly enforced. Needless to say, the Church is gravely imperilled.

All the while, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un continues to consolidate his power. As was noted in RLPB 248, by the end of 2013, four members of Kim Jong-il's 'Gang of Seven' -- an inner circle of elites tasked with guiding and mentoring the young Kim Jong-un -- had been purged while another had been demoted. One of those purged was Kim Jong-un's uncle, Jang Song-taek who was executed on 13 December 2013. Stepping up to fill Jang's role as principal mentor and deputy was Choe Ryong-hae (64),the man Kim Jong-il had reportedly personally chosen to mentor his son, and the man believed to be responsible for Jang's execution. In early May, Kim Jong-un demoted Choe, replacing him with his own long-time minder and protector, Hwang Pyong-so (64). Having shaken off the last of his father's minions, Kim can now rule unchallenged. As one analyst comments, anyone waiting for a collapse of the regime is going to have to wait a lot longer.

On the other hand, tensions are soaring on the peninsula with North Korea firing rockets into the sea and flying surveillance drones over the South. Pyongyang denies it was spying, calling the accusation a 'conspiracy' devised by South Korean president Park Geun-hye, whom it called a 'disgraceful political prostitute'. Kim has referred recently also to US President Obama (who visited Seoul in April and is proposing further sanctions) as a 'wicked black monkey', a 'cross-breed' and Park's 'pimp'. To protest what it calls 'US and South Korean hostility', Pyongyang has threatened to conduct another nuclear test. On Monday 12 May South Korean Ministry of Defence spokesman Kim Min-seo struck back saying, 'North Korea isn't a real country is it? ... It exists solely to prop up a single person,' adding that it would be best if it 'vanished as soon as possible'.  On Tuesday 13 May the North's powerful National Defence Commission described President Park and South Korean military officials as 'the root of evil' and vowed to wipe them out entirely with merciless force. Hopes of peace are fading fast. 

PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY THAT --

* the Almighty God will intervene in North Korea to transform the situation radically for the benefit of the Church and for the sake of North Korea's repressed and suffering millions. (See Jonah 4:10-11)

'When he [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.' (Matthew 9:36 ESV)

* God will give wisdom to fools and patience to hot heads, repentance to persecutors and grace to victims, so that the Church might be spared further calamity and delivered from her adversity to be the light and salt (Matthew 5:13-16) North Korea so desperately needs.

* the Holy Spirit will revisit Pyongyang in mercy and grace, to open the eyes of the blind, unstop the ears of the deaf and set the captives free. (See Psalm 146, Luke 4:14-21 and Isaiah 35:3-7)

[The Great Korean Revival of 1907, which transformed the Korean peninsula, began in Pyongyang, which subsequently came to be known as 'The Jerusalem of the East'.]

'The earth is the LORD's and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein ... Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.'
(from Psalm 24)

SUMMARY FOR BULLETINS UNABLE TO RUN THE WHOLE ARTICLE
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HOPES FOR PEACE FADE IN KOREA


Koreans -- especially North Koreans -- desperately need peace, as distinct from a frozen conflict that breeds paranoia-inspired gross human rights abuses and routinely threatens war. In the North, whenever the regime of Kim Jong-un feels threatened, it intensifies repression and magnifies propaganda. Recently, North Korean security forces have been conducting surprise night raids on homes in Pyongyang, arresting and then exiling anyone suspected of viewing, sharing or copying banned materials, particularly South Korean films and magazines. At least 100 people have been 'disappeared' in the last two months, triggering widespread panic. Meanwhile, tensions between North Korea and the US-South Korea alliance are also soaring; the belligerent, threatening rhetoric coming out of both states is frightening. Pray for the Church in North Korea. Pray for Korea's peace and transformation.

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Elizabeth Kendal is the author of
Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah speaks to Christians today
(Deror Books, Dec 2012)

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

RLPB 259. Central African Republic (CAR): may God empower the peacemakers

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 259 | Wed 07 May 2014

CAR: MAY GOD EMPOWER THE PEACEMAKERS
plus: update and comment on the Borno abductions (Nigeria).
By Elizabeth Kendal

In early 2013 the Central African Republic (CAR) government desperately appealed for help as bands of local and international Islamic jihadis backed by Sudan and Iran advanced on the capital, Bangui. But President Bozize had recently signed oil concessions with China, leading the US and former colonial power France to think that regime change in Bangui might serve their interests. They therefore refused assistance and let CAR -- which is French-speaking and 70 percent Christian -- fall to Arabic-speaking local and international Islamic rebels. Only when CAR was in total chaos did France send in peacekeepers. Contrary to reports, the conflict was religious from the very beginning. Likewise, the Seleka Muslim forces did not kill and burn 'indiscriminately'; rather, they targeted Christians and spared Muslims. Compounding the tragedy, many Muslims betrayed their Christian neighbours and welcomed Seleka, anticipating that it would usher in an Islamic order wherein Muslims would be privileged simply by virtue of being Muslim. Some Muslims even joined in the looting of their Christian neighbours. Consequently, all trust has been shattered. With nobody coming to their aid, the traditional village self-defence units known as 'anti-balaka' went on the offensive to liberate CAR from the scourge of Seleka and exact revenge. Whilst Church leaders, with support from some local Muslim clerics, have been leading the call for reconciliation, leaderless rogue anti-balaka and ex-Seleka militias are out of control, making it impossible to break the cycle of violence.

[For full background see Religious Llberty Monitoring, label 'Central African Republic (CAR)'

As was noted in RLPB 258 (30 April) Seleka rebels are still killing and plundering throughout the centre and north-west of CAR. Around 100 people were killed in the past week in dozens of villages across north-west CAR close to the border with Chad. The fighting commenced on 1 May, allegedly after armed men, some reportedly in uniform, plundered Seleka's food reserves. According to the head of the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Amy Martin, several armed groups are operating in the border area, including Seleka fighters who have formed alliances with armed Fulani herdsmen. Though it is not clear who is committing the violence, the deputy prefect in Markounda, Lucian Mbaigoto, said the killers were speaking Arabic and Fulani. Everaldo de Souza, a priest in Dekoa, told Reuters that ex-Seleka rebels had killed at least seven people in three nearby villages, though he expected the death toll to be much higher. In Mala, terrified citizens sought shelter in the Catholic church until it too was targeted. Yetina Isaac, a resident of Markounda, described how rebels entered homes, killed the occupants and set fire to the houses, burning the frail and the dead. She also reported having seen children 'thrown alive into the fire'.

Muslims in the north are calling for partition and for a separate state. Apart from Sudan and Iran and possibly some other Islamic states, there is no support for that as most recognise that such an entity would simply become a base for international Islamic mercenaries operating mostly at the behest of Sudan and Iran. While Seleka violence is receiving little media coverage, news of 'Christian ethnic cleansing of Muslims' is rife, not just in non-Muslim media, but in Muslim media. For example, Iranian media is warning Muslims that a 'Christian' genocide of Muslims is underway, with echoes of Rwanda. This creates a seriously dangerous climate for Christians. Foreign militants should be expelled, rebels must be disarmed and leaderless rogue anti-balaka need to be reined in or the situation could become much worse. CAR desperately needs peace.

PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY THAT GOD WILL --

* fill CAR's Church leaders and evangelists with a fresh out-pouring of his Holy Spirit so they will speak with boldness and authority and lead the nation to Jesus Christ for transformative grace to make peace and reconciliation possible.

* pour out his Holy Spirit in generous abundance on the citizens of CAR, opening the eyes of the blind, unstopping the ears of the deaf, healing the traumatised and freeing those held captive to pain and rage. (Luke 4:16-21)

* work powerfully so that this nation, which has been invaded and ravaged by enemies, betrayed and abandoned by friends and torn asunder from within, will seek grace and healing from him who is both willing and able to save.

'With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.' (Matthew 19:26 ESV)

By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas; the one who by his strength established the mountains, being girded with might; who stills the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples, so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs. (Psalm 65:5-8a ESV)
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UPDATE & COMMENT ON THE BORNO, NIGERIA, ABDUCTIONS
-- updating RLPBs 257 & 258

In the early hours of Monday 5 May, Boko Haram struck again, abducting eight girls aged 12 to 15 from Warabe village on the outskirts of the Christian enclave of Gwoza town, Borno, near the Sambisa forest and the border with Cameroon. While the Borno abductions have captured international headlines, it is important to realise that the phenomenon is neither new nor unique. In Raqqa, Syria, young girls including Christians are also being seized and forcibly married to Salafi jihadis (see RLPB 250, 4 March). [Salafis imitate Muhammad who took women as war booty and slaves and gave his followers permission to have sex with any woman their right hand possessed (Qur'an, Sura 23:5,6).] As noted in RLPB 258 (30 April), thousands of Christian Pakistani and Coptic (Egyptian) girls are trafficked across religious lines every year, being abducted, converted and married to Muslim men with complicity from local police, courts and government officials all working to hasten the decline of Christianity through the removal of its child-bearers. Even if these Pakistani and Egyptian girls manage to escape they cannot get their religious identity restored because the Islamic state will not permit apostasy (leaving Islam). According to Sharia Law, a Muslim woman may only marry a Muslim man, leaving the forcibly converted girl with no other option than to flee and risk her chances as a refugee. This is what contemporary persecution looks like -- violent and life-destroying. Please pray for the persecuted!


SUMMARY FOR BULLETINS UNABLE TO RUN THE WHOLE ARTICLE
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MAY GOD EMPOWER THE PEACEMAKERS FOR CAR


Central African Republic (CAR) is trapped in violence. While rogue anti-Muslim militias known as 'anti-balaka' are driving Muslims out of Bangui, ex-Seleka Islamic rebels continue to terrorise the centre and north-west. On 26 April ex-Seleka militants massacred 16 people (including three staff) at a medical clinic in north-west CAR. In the past week some 100 people have been killed across dozens of villages in the north-west close to the border with Chad. The killers, who were said to speak Arabic and Fulani, committed appalling abuses, killing civilians, burning homes and reportedly throwing live children into the fires. Iranian media are falsely reporting genocide of Muslims, saying that Christians are killing Muslims with impunity. Unless there is peace, the situation will deteriorate significantly. Please pray for CAR and its Church.

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Elizabeth Kendal is the author of
Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah speaks to Christians today
(Deror Books, Dec 2012)