Please forward this prayer bulletin widely, and encourage others to sign up to the Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin blog. "The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." (James 5:16 NIV)
by Elizabeth Kendal
NOVEMBER 2017 UPDATE -- this month we prayed concerning ...
|Shot in the face while fleeing her |
burning home, Lisa Bono lost five
members of her family in the attack.
(courtesy: Stephanos Foundation)
UPDATE: On Tuesday evening 7 November gunmen ambushed and opened fire on Christians in Rim village in Riyom LGA, Plateau State, as they returned home from a nearby market. According to a local eye-witness, whilst some of the gunmen were clearly herdsmen, others were dressed in military fatigues. Eleven Christians were killed and four wounded. In communications with Morning Star News the president of the Church of Christ In Nations (COCIN), Rev Dacholom Datiri, confirmed that nine of the dead were members of the COCIN church. Others were members of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA). Chairman of Riyom LGA, Emmanuel Jugul, was outraged by the attack, telling World Watch Monitor that most of the residents of Mahanga and Gweba have been displaced, adding, 'Fulanis are saying that they have captured the place.'
BENUE: On 14 November World Watch Research released a report on Fulani violence in Benue State. The report, sponsored by Open Doors International and Voice of the Martyrs Canada, catalogues the crimes committed against Christians by Hausa-Fulani herdsmen between January 2014 and August 2017. With more than 4,200 killed, more than 3,000 injured, more than 30 churches destroyed and some 100,000 people displaced, the report concludes that the violence amounts to ethnic cleansing. Benue enacted anti-open grazing laws on 1 November. The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has protested and appealed for federal government intervention. In response, Benue lawmakers have appealed directly to President Buhari, requesting he support the Anti-Open Grazing Law to put an end to the 'carnage and massive destruction' being caused by 'heartless terrorists operating under the cover of Fulani herdsmen'.
PRAY for Nigeria and for the suffering Church in the North. Pray especially for a movement of the Holy Spirit amongst the Fulani and that all Nigerians will ultimately be 'one in Christ Jesus' (Galatians 3:25-28)
* CHINA (RLPB 432), where it was reported Christian human rights lawyer and religious liberty advocate Gao Zhisheng -- missing since 13 August -- had finally been located. According to local sources, state security services are holding Gao in a secret prison in Shaanxi Province, in solitary confinement and in total darkness. Gao Zhisheng is one of many Christians currently being punished for criticising the repressive and violent policies of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). What makes his case so significant is that Gao is recognised and respected internationally. Gao is thus a test case: if Gao is not safe then no Chinese human rights or religious liberty advocate is safe.
* BURMA (RLPB 433), where ethnic Kachin pastor Dumdaw Nawng Lat (67) of the Mong Ko Kachin Baptist Church and his nephew, youth pastor Langjaw Gam Seng (35), have been sentenced to prison as punishment for exposing the Burmese military's destruction of Mong Ko town. The Kachin Baptist Convention is preparing to appeal.
|Displaced Kachin children in a camp |
run by the Kachin Baptist Convention.
The Kachin are a Christian people.
PRAY for Burma (Myanmar) and for her suffering Church. Pray especially for a movement of the Holy Spirit amongst the ethnic Burman Buddhist majority and that all Burmese will ultimately be 'one in Christ Jesus' (Galatians 3:25-28)
NOVEMBER 2017 ROUND-UP -- also this month ...
* INDIA: DECEMBER ELECTIONS IN GUJARAT
On 21 November the Archbishop of Gandhinagar, Rev Thomas Macwan (65) issued a letter to the state's Catholics exhorting them to pray. 'Not a single day goes without an attack on our churches, faithful or institutions,' he wrote. 'Pray ... we may have such people elected in the Gujarat State Assembly who will remain faithful to our Indian Constitution and respect every human being without any sort of discrimination.' Hindu nationalists then accused the Archbishop of seeking to 'generate fear' and 'divide people on the basis of caste and creed', and demanded 'immediate action'. On 25 November, the Election Commission issued the Archbishop with a notice asking him to explain why his letter should not be viewed as a violation of the Model Code of Conduct. The Archbishop reiterated that he was merely calling his people to pray for 'humane leaders faithful to the Constitution'. Hindu nationalist zeal will surely escalate in the lead-up to the polls. Pray for India, for her longsuffering persecuted Church and for the elections in Gujarat.
See also: Gujarat bishop’s plea to save India from nationalist forces is an act of citizenship we must support
By Shiv Visvanathan, Scroll.in 27 Nov 2017
* IRAQ: ASSYRIANS VULNERABLE AS POWERS CLASH
[Update to RLPB 424: Assyrians request prayer as Kurds 'play with fire' (19 Sept).]
Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Massoud Barzani's 25 September referendum on Kurdish independence backfired spectacularly. After brokering a deal with Kurdish opposition leader Jalal Talabani, Baghdad -- with support from Iran (and no resistance from Talibani forces) -- seized oil-rich Kirkuk from Barzani's forces in a blitzkrieg. On 1 November Barzani stepped down from the presidency. Tensions are high across the 'disputed areas', including the Nineveh Plains, as Kurdish and Iraqi forces, backed by Shi'ite militias (many led by Iranians), fight for control of territory. On 24 October clashes in the Assyrian town of Teleskuf forced hundreds of recently returned Assyrian Christians to flee their town yet again.
The first stage of the Battle for Mesopotamia involved the crushing of the minorities by proxy forces. The next stage, developing now, will see the powers clash as they seek to establish their presence on the ground. The biggest winner in the Kurdish fiasco has been Iran, which has consolidated its military control in Kirkuk and its presence in Northern Iraq. Long-time religious liberty advocate Nina Shea reports that 'Iran is aggressively establishing schools and mosques and libraries and other structures within the main Christian towns'. For the Assyrian remnant, their very survival as a people is at stake. Pray for the Assyrians; may God intervene to help them.
* IRAN: PERSIAN CONVERT TO STAY IN JAIL
[Update to RLPB 414: Massive Jail Terms for Many Believers (12 July).]
In May, Persian convert Naser Navard Gol-Tapeh and three Azerbaijanis were sentenced to ten years in jail for 'missionary activities' and 'conducting activities against national security'. Whilst the Azerbaijanis were permitted to return home after posting bail, Naser Navard Gol-Tapeh (an Iranian national) was sent to prison. On 12 November an Iranian court upheld all four 10-year sentences; Naser Navard Gol-Tapeh will remain in prison. Pray for Naser and for all Iran's Christian prisoners.
* PAKISTAN: THE BATTLE FOR PAKISTAN ESCALATES
|Young Barelvi Muslims |
(normally regarded as moderate)
protesting 'blasphemy' - Nov 2017.
(courtesy: World Watch Monitor)
Pakistan’s anti-blasphemy protests showcase minorities’ plight
By Asif Aqeel, World Watch Monitor, 27 Nov 2017
Shadows from history hang over Pakistan’s present and future
By M.K. Bhadrakumar, Asia Times, 27 Nov 2017
Elizabeth Kendal is an international religious liberty analyst and advocate. She serves as Director of Advocacy at Canberra-based Christian Faith and Freedom (CFF), and is an Adjunct Research Fellow at the Arthur Jeffery Centre for the Study of Islam at Melbourne School of Theology.