Tuesday, January 29, 2019

RLPB 487. Dec 2018 & Jan 2019 Update, incl. Philippines, Bulgaria, Egypt, Indonesia, Mali, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sudan

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 487 | Wed 30 JAN 2019

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- Elizabeth Kendal

DECEMBER 2018 & JANUARY 2019 UPDATE – during this period we prayed concerning

* AUSTRALIA (5 Dec, RLPB 482) where religious freedom hangs in the balance.

* CHINA (12 Dec, RLPB 483) where the Chinese Communist Party’s hi-tech and suffocating supervision of society and brutal crackdown on religion and dissent continues apace.

* CHINA & IRAN (19 Dec, RLPB 484) where, just as in Jerusalem 2000 years ago, rulers – like Herod before them – reject Christ and instead choose violence. Just as Herod’s efforts to eliminate Christ were in vain, so too will be the efforts of China’s President Xi Jingping and the Chinese Communist Party and Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei and the Shi’ite revolutionary regime. And just as Christ was crucified in Jerusalem only to rise to life again, so too will the light of Christ overcome opposition and rise in China and in Iran, to bring light and blessing not only to those lands but far beyond. Indeed – it has already begun! Which is precisely why the spiritual battle is so intense. Pray for the Church in China and Iran. 

* UGANDA (16 Jan, RLPB 485) where massive decentralisation has resulted in Uganda now being comprised of roughly 130 self-governing districts. Despite living in a predominantly Christian country where religious freedom is guaranteed in the constitution, Christians living in Muslim-dominated self-governing districts in Eastern Region are being forced to live as dhimmis (second-class citizens, subjugated under Islam) and persecuted with impunity. It is absolutely urgent that the supremacy of the constitution be established and the law of the land upheld before persecution becomes ethnic cleansing, killings become massacres, and  Uganda loses control of Eastern Region all together. Pray for Uganda: for her government and her Church (especially for Christian solidarity in this matter of persecution). 

* PHILIPPINES (23 Jan, RLPB 486) where a plebiscite had been held to determine the peoples’ willingness (or not) to adopt the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL; also known as the Bangsamoro Organic Law). If passed, the BBL/BOL would establish an autonomous Islamic sub-state in Western Mindanao. Championed widely (but not by this ministry) as the harbinger of peace, the BBL/BOL emerged out of peace talks between the Government of Philippines (GoP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

UPDATES: 

1) BBL PASSES

On Friday 25 January, the Philippines’ election commission ratified the results of the plebiscite: 87 percent of voters in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) voted ‘YES’, indicating they approve the BBL/BOL. The ARMM will now be replaced by the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) complete with greatly expanded, essentially state-like powers.  In Sulu Province (long an Abu Sayyaf stronghold) a majority voted ‘NO’, but as Sulu is part of the ARMM it cannot opt out of the BARMM now a majority of the ARMM has voted ‘YES’. Sulu Governor Abdusakur ‘Toto’ Tan II (whose family has long held power over the region) has challenged the constitutionality of the BBL in the Supreme Court, which is yet to rule on the matter!  In two cities not in the ARMM – Isabela and Cotabato – residents were asked to decide if they wanted their city included in the BARMM. In Cotabato, 59.9 percent voted ‘YES’; while in Isabela 54.1 percent voted ‘NO’.

On Wednesday 6 February a plebiscite will be held in Lanao del Norte Province and seven towns in North Cotabato Province to see if residents would like their region or town to be included in the BARMM. [Live Updates via Rappler]

2) CHURCH BOMBED IN JOLO

On Sunday 27 January terror struck Jolo city, the capital of Sulu Province. At 8:15 am, a suicide bomber detonated his vest inside the inside the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, targeting Catholics. Around 45 seconds later, a second bomb left in the utility box of a motorcycle exploded in the car park, targeting security personnel and first responders. On Monday afternoon officials put the toll at 20 dead and 97 wounded. [Earlier reports put the death toll at 27.] Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility, boasting their fighters had bombed a ‘Christian temple’, during  a ‘gathering of the Crusaders to perform their polytheist rituals’. While the role of IS remains unclear, one assailant –identified through CCTV footage – was known to authorities as a member of the Adjang-Adjang Group. Adjang-Adjang, which means ‘Soldiers of the Martyrs’, is a subgroup of the IS affiliated Abu Sayyaf Group. It is made up of youths orphaned by the conflict; most are drug addicts and delinquents. Though small in number, they are feared throughout the city. This is the first major attack ever perpetrated by the group. Pray for the Church in southern Philippines.

Inside the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel,
Jolo, Sunday 27 January.

JANUARY 2019 ROUND-UP – also this month

* BULGARIA: RELIGION DENOMINATIONS ACT PASSED

Bulgaria’s re-drafted Religion Denominations Act was passed by parliament on 21 December. Two months of weekly street protests by Bulgarian Christians had served to highlight the problematic and highly repressive nature of the original draft amendments and attract the attention of European rights advocates and intercessors worldwide. Praise God . . . virtually all of the provisions that the churches had protested against were dropped from the final draft. The new and greatly improved Religion Denominations Act became effective on 1 January. [For more details click HERE.]

* EGYPT: BEHIND THE FACADE, NO CHANGE.

Minya Governorate, in Upper (south) Egypt, is home to Egypt’s largest population of Copts (indigenous Egyptians, as distinct from Arabs). Despite being home to some 1000 Copts (who are Christian) the village of Manshiyet Zaafarana has only one designated place where Christians are permitted to gather for prayer and worship. Known as Mar Girgis (St Georges) Church, Coptic Christians gathered there in number on Christmas Eve (6 January) for the traditional midnight Mass. Angered by the activity, Muslims subsequently stormed the building only to be evicted by police. On Friday 11 January at 1:30pm – i.e. straight after Friday noon prayers – a mob of some 1000 angry (doubtless incited) Muslims converged on the church. They shouted ‘leave, leave’, along with Islamic chants such as, ‘No other God other than Allah’, and demanded that the church be closed. Unable to pacify the mob, the police agreed to their demands. After evicting the two priests and few believers who were inside, the police shuttered the building as the Muslim mob cheered and gloated.

Muslim descend on Mar Girgis church after Friday prayers, 11 January.

This is increasingly how business is done in Egypt: the government opens churches, issues religious freedom decrees and establishes commissions to tackle sectarian conflict while Muslims, aware of their power and confident of impunity, know they only need to riot to get their way. As long as persecution with impunity is the order of the day, then all government pretense is meaningless. Lack of enforcement renders the law worthless. Pray for the Church in Egypt.


* INDONESIA: AHOK OUT; ELECTIONS ON 

Basuki Tjahaja Purnama – formerly known as ‘Ahok’, now preferring to be known as BTP – walked free from prison on 24 January. The long-popular former Governor of Jakarta fell prey to a politically motivated blasphemy accusation while running for governor in November 2016. Sentenced to two years prison in May 2017, Ahok/BTP was released four months early, reportedly for good behaviour but more probably because President Joko Widodo wanted him out before the April elections. It seems Widodo might also have wanted Islamic terror leader Abu Bakar Ba’asyir released from prison and moved to house arrest before the elections. That, however, is looking less likely now that Ba’asyir has refused to pledge loyalty to the Unitary State of Indonesia and the Pancasila state ideology, insisting instead that he only answers to Allah. Clearly rattled by the jailing of Ahok/BTP, Widodo is desperate to bolster his Islamic credentials. [See RLPB 469 (22 Aug 2018), Indonesia: ‘sword’ of weaponised Islam revealed.] Pray for the Church in Indonesia.

* MALI: DARKNESS DESCENDS ON CAPTIVES 

In the days just prior to Christmas, Al Qaeda’s branch in Mali and West Africa, Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM, or the ‘Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims’) released a new 10-minute video. According to the English-speaking jihadist, JNIM – which is holding a number of foreign Christians hostage – will no longer release regular videos providing proof-of-life and demanding ransom. The Malian desert is going dark! No reason was given for the change in procedure.  In the video, the JNIM spokesman discussed the cases of Sophie Petronin (French), Iulian Ghergut (Romanian), Dr. Ken Elliott (Australian), Beatrice Stockly (Swiss), and Sister Gloria Navarez (Columbian). This is an ominous development and will be exceedingly difficult for the families involved. Please pray for these captives, as well as for Jeff Woodke (American) and Joerg Lange (German) who are also being held captive somewhere in the Malian desert.

[For background see:
RLPB 413 (5 July 2017) and RLPB 445 (7 March 2018)]

‘Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you’ (from Psalm 139, ESV).

* NIGERIA: A CALL TO PRAYER

The crisis in north-east Nigeria is one of the most neglected crises in the world today. The Nigerian presidential election – slated for 16 February 2019 – will likely bring the situation to a head. As reported by Defense & Foreign Affairs (Special Analysis, 28 Dec 2018) ‘Islamist groups – loosely referred to as Boko Haram (BH) – continue to gain dominance in north-eastern Nigeria’. On 25 December BH ambushed Nigerian soldiers and police near Baga, 198km north-east of Maiduguri, in Borno State, killing fourteen. On 27 Dec, BH overran two military bases belonging to the Multinational Joint Task Force (MJTF) in Baga forcing troops to withdraw and thousands of civilians to flee (mostly into Cameroon). The militants carried off gun trucks, ammunition and multiple rocket-launchers. BH is also known to be using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV: i.e. drones). On 13 January 2019, BH targeted a military base near the town of Magumeri in Borno (50km north-west of Maiduguri) forcing thousands of civilians to flee. On 14 Jan, BH overran and seized control of Rann (174km east of Maiduguri) a makeshift town for displaced persons which was controlled by the military. The army has retreated and thousands of civilians have fled into Cameroon.

Led by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), the Nigerian Church held a National Day of Prayers on 10 January. The focus was on the release of captives, including Leah Sharibu and the remaining Chibok girls, and that the February elections might be free, fair, credible and peaceful.

 Muhammadu Buhari versus Atiku Abubakar

To say Nigeria is in crisis would be an understatement. The 16 February presidential election – which will force many issues to the surface – will be a primary focus of RLPB ministry in coming weeks. Please Pray.

* PAKISTAN: ASIA BIBI IS FREE; PAKISTAN IS NOT

On Tuesday 29 January, the Supreme Court of Pakistan upheld its acquittal of Christian woman, Asia Bibi, dismissing as without merit a petition to have the ruling reviewed. Under guard at a secret location since her acquittal last October, Asia Bibi is now free to leave Pakistan. Bibi’s lawyer, Saiful Malook who returned to Pakistan for the hearing, said, ‘The verdict is a way forward, and it is positive. The judges raised pertinent legal questions, focusing on law and evidence, expressing displeasure over the perjury that was committed by the complainant against Asia and other witnesses.’  Radical anti-blasphemy party Tehreek-e-Labbaik said on Monday it would not accept any decision in favour of Ms Bibi’s release and asked its followers to prepare for more mass protests.  Pray for the Church in Pakistan.

* SUDAN: A CALL TO PRAYER

Protests erupted in Khartoum on 19 December after the government trebled the price of bread. The economic situation has been deteriorating for years, especially since the secession of South Sudan. Now anger has escalated to breaking point. True to form, the Government of Sudan (GoS) is responding with violence. Over the past month, more than 40 protesters have been killed, well over 300 wounded and more than 800 arrested. While protests are nothing new, what makes these protests unprecedented is their size and longevity, as well as the diversity of those protesting. Either the crackdown will get much worse and more deadly or the protests could force the GoS to accept radical change. Of course change rarely comes quickly; the protests that brought change to Ethiopia lasted one whole year. If a similar change was to occur in Sudan it could result in regional parties and peoples being empowered through a more representative government, thus reviving the late Dr John Garang’s vision of a ‘New Sudan’ built on inclusive government and freedom (albeit without South Sudan). President Omar al-Bashir is hunting for international support. Please pray that God will intervene in Sudan for the benefit of its ‘harassed and helpless’ un-free masses and its suffering Church.

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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.

She has authored two books: Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah Speaks to Christians Today (Deror Books, Melbourne, Australia, Dec 2012) which offers a Biblical response to persecution and existential threat; and After Saturday Comes Sunday: Understanding the Christian Crisis in the Middle East (Wipf and Stock, Eugene, OR, USA, June 2016).

See www.ElizabethKendal.com


Tuesday, January 22, 2019

RLPB 486. Philippines: Sharia Descends

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 486 | Wed 23 Jan 2019

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)


PHILIPPINES: SHARIA DESCENDS
By Elizabeth Kendal

Police with ballot boxes, Cotabato City,
21 January 2019.
photo: AFP/Noel Celis
On Monday 21 January some 2.8 million eligible voters in the 'core territory' of the proposed Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) participated in a plebiscite. They were asked if they are willing to adopt the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). Residents in the cities of Isabela and Cotabato were asked if they were willing to have their city included in the BARMM. The result should be available after four or five days. If a majority in each region votes 'yes' -- as is expected -- then the BARMM will be established and another plebiscite will be held on 6 February in which residents of Lanao del Norte Province and seven towns in North Cotabato Province will be asked if they would like their region or town to be included in the BARMM.

Whilst pre-polling indicates that a 'yes' vote is almost certain, polling will be tight in regions with larger Christian minorities, in particular the cities of Isabela (64 percent Muslim) and Cotabato (76 percent Muslim). On 18 January Isabela City officials and Church leaders who strongly oppose their city's inclusion in the BARMM expressed their objections to a rally of thousands of concerned Isabelenos. On 21 January Cotabato City Mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi -- who opposes Cotabato City's inclusion in the BARMM -- complained that members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) were engaging in voter intimidation and fraud. [Live Updates (Rappler): votes are in for Cotabato City: 59.5 percent vote 'yes'.]

By this coming weekend, the BARMM will almost certainly have replaced the ARMM (Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao) in line with the Bangsamoro Basic Law (also known as Bangsamoro Organic Law and Republic Act No. 11054). A three-year transition period will follow, during which time the BARMM will be governed by a MILF-dominated Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte. If all goes to plan, polls to elect an 80-seat parliament will then be held in 2022. Actually, the future is anything but certain.

click on map to enlarge
After some 50 years of Islamic separatist insurgency, MILF's ability to govern remains to be seen. Will MILF be able to create jobs, deliver services and manage the budget?  In a recent survey conducted across Mindanao, only 30 percent of respondents believe MILF is capable of governing the BARMM (with 19 percent confident MILF is definitely capable). Meanwhile, 38 percent believe MILF is not capable (with 28 percent insisting MILF is definitely not capable!).

Critically, victory for the 'yes' vote will trigger the decommissioning process through which MILF's 30,000 to 40,000 armed fighters are to surrender their weapons. We might wonder, however, how many decommissioned MILF jihadists will find work in policing and security -- putting down one weapon in exchange for another without any change in ideology at all? Many MILF fighters are full-time jihadists who have known nothing but war. Whilst some will surrender their weapons and enter the mainstream of society, many might find it easier to join other groups offering salaries to combatants: i.e., the Islamic State-aligned Abu Sayyaf Group, Maute Group and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF). Rejecting autonomy, these groups will fight on striving for their dream of an independent Islamic State/Caliphate -- something that MILF understands better than most, having previously rejected autonomy in preference for war!

Then there is the matter of inclusion. Though two seats in the 80-seat parliament (to be elected in 2022) will be reserved for Christians, this will be totally meaningless if a majority has no intention of respecting their rights. As many Christian leaders and voices are keen to point out, MILF has promised to respect religious freedom. However, the fact remains that the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL/BOL) will impose Islamic Sharia Law on all the BARMM's Muslim residents. Consequently, Islamic zeal and repression will escalate, with serious repercussions for Christian ministry, witness, freedom and security. Furthermore, the BBL/BOL provides for future plebiscites, thereby enabling perpetual territorial expansion of what is most certainly an Islamic 'state in all but name'.

For a more detailed analysis of the BBL, see:
Bangsamoro Basic Law Looms Over Mindanao 
By Elizabeth Kendal, Religious Liberty Monitoring, December 2017.
See also RLPB 466 (1 Aug 2018).


PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY FOR GOD TO

* comfort all those Christians in Mindanao who are feeling anxious, even afraid, for the future; may the Holy Spirit draw the Church ever deeper into prayer; may greater faith, love, unity, urgency and co-operation be the result ... to the glory of God the Father.

'... that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me ...' (from Jesus' High Priestly Prayer, John 17:23 ESV).

* bless the churches of Mindanao as they seek to maintain a faithful witness among the Muslim majority; may they have divine wisdom, grace and courage as they navigate an increasingly challenging environment (Matthew 10:16).


SUMMARY FOR BULLETINS UNABLE TO RUN THE WHOLE ARTICLE 
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SHARIA LAW DESCENDS IN THE PHILIPPINES

On 21 January some 2.8 million voters in western Mindanao participated in a plebiscite organised to facilitate the establishment of an Islamic sub-state in southern Philippines. Once the 'yes' victory is confirmed, a three-year transition period will follow. During that time a Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)-dominated council will govern the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) and facilitate the decommissioning of tens of thousands of MILF fighters. If all goes to plan, polls to elect an 80-seat parliament will then be held in 2022. The Bangsamoro Basic Law will impose Islamic Sharia Law on all of the BARMM's Muslim residents. Consequently, Islamic zeal and repression will escalate, with serious repercussions for Christian ministry, witness, freedom and security. Please pray for the Philippine Church, especially for Mindanao's minority Christians.

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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.

She has authored two books: Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah Speaks to Christians Today (Deror Books, Melbourne, Australia, Dec 2012) which offers a Biblical response to persecution and existential threat; and After Saturday Comes Sunday: Understanding the Christian Crisis in the Middle East (Wipf and Stock, Eugene, OR, USA, June 2016).

See www.ElizabethKendal.com 

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

RLPB 485. Uganda: Minority Christians Under Pressure

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 485 | Wed 16 Jan 2019

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)


UGANDA: MINORITY CHRISTIANS UNDER PRESSURE
by Elizabeth Kendal

According to Uganda's 2014 census, Christians make up 84.5 percent of the population and Muslims 13.7 percent. On 24 December, the Washington Times (WT) published an article with the following headline: 'Ugandan Christians live in fear of minority Muslims on quest for conversions'.  However, the WT headline is misleading, for the pressure and persecution described in the article is taking place in Uganda's Eastern Region where Uganda's Muslims are concentrated and where Christians are a minority. The WT article retells the story of 12-year-old Emmanuel Nyaiti (see Morning Star News (MSN), October 2018) who was walking home through predominantly Muslim Kaderuna Sub-County, Budaka District, at around 9 pm when he was ambushed by four Muslims eager to force him to convert to Islam. For resisting, Nyaiti was beaten, strangled and left for dead. Nyaiti's father, Kauta Yokosofat -- a member of Kiryolo Church of Uganda -- had previously been warned that if he did not convert to Islam his family would be forced to leave the village. When Nyaiti did not arrive home, his father gathered some neighbours and set out in search. He eventually found his son unconscious and half-dead in a cassava plantation. The attack sent shock-waves through the vulnerable, minority Christian community.

Today, unprecedented numbers of Ugandan Muslims are rejecting Islam and embracing life in Jesus Christ. Eager to retain their influence and eliminate 'fitna' (the strife that comes from doubting Islam), local imams are leading efforts to crush Christian witness in Eastern Region (e.g. see MSN 30 Nov). Deborah Gimbo of Budaka Town, Budaka District, meets for prayer with two other Christian women three evenings a week. On the afternoon of 20 December, four Muslims burst into her home as she was praying alone. They warned her to stop praying aloud in Jesus' name. When Gimbo refused, the intruders beat her with sticks until neighbours came to the rescue and took the battered and bleeding woman to hospital. Gimbo, who was discharged two days later, told MSN that 'a local sheikh (teacher) had instructed the assailants that people who pray in Jesus' name should be fought and pressured until they accept only worship of Allah, or else be killed.' Previously, on 10 October, Muslims in neighbouring Kibuku District tore down a church building established by Pastor Mustafa Waseke for his congregation of converts from Islam. Pastor Waseke told MSN that the Muslims, led by an imam, razed the building while shouting, 'Allah Akbar  [Allah is the greatest], away with this church and Pastor Mustafa Waseke. No more prayers in this place, or else you will all lose your lives.' A secret believer has since informed Waseke that Muslims are plotting to kill him and his family. Pastor Waseke told MSN, 'I am at a crossroads of not knowing what to do. My church members are scattered like sheep without a shepherd ... Please pray for us.'

Muhamud Gusolo of Masaba village, Sironko District, Eastern Region, abandoned Islam and put his faith in Christ in late 2017. In October 2018 he started hosting evening Bible study and worship in his home, meeting with other former Muslims. First, his father denounced, disowned and disinherited him. Then, on 7 December, a Muslim mob, led by a mosque leader, destroyed his banana plantation. With his livelihood destroyed and his life in danger, Gusolo decided to leave the village; his wife, however, was too afraid to join him. Having lost his home, wife and six children; his parents, inheritance and livelihood; Gusolo (28) appealed to the local authorities for help. 'This,' he says, 'this has fallen on deaf ears.' 

Uganda is a majority Christian country with a secular constitution that guarantees religious freedom. However, Uganda is also Africa's most decentralised country and its roughly 130 districts are largely self-governing. If the central government does not enforce the law nationwide and insist that all districts abide by the constitution, then Uganda will eventually end up like Nigeria where Muslim-majority regions observe Sharia law in defiance of the constitution to the detriment of national unity, human rights in general and Christian liberty and security in particular.

For a full analysis of the religious liberty situation in Uganda see:
'Uganda Analysis: escalating persecution of Christians in Eastern Region linked to Islamisation, decentralisation and impunity', by Elizabeth Kendal, Religious Liberty Monitoring, May 2017.


PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY FOR GOD TO

* bless the persecuted and threatened Church in Uganda's Muslim-dominated Eastern Region; may the believers have divine wisdom and grace as they navigate a deteriorating situation; may the Lord be their fortress and deliverer, comforter and provider. 'But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.' (Psalm 3:3)

* give President Yoweri Museveni and Uganda's central government the conviction and courage to resist the Islamisation of the Eastern Region and insist that the supremacy of the constitution be recognised uniformly across all Uganda's districts.

* awaken Uganda's majority Christians to the plight of their suffering brothers and sisters in Muslim-dominated Eastern Region; may their hearts break as they see through Christ's eyes and realise the pain in the heart of God; may they fall to their knees as one for the sake of their persecuted brethren and for sake of their country.


SUMMARY FOR BULLETINS UNABLE TO RUN THE WHOLE ARTICLE 
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UGANDA: MINORITY CHRISTIANS UNDER PRESSURE

Uganda is a predominantly Christian country with a secular constitution that guarantees religious freedom. It is also Africa's most decentralised country with some 130 districts that are largely self-governing. In Muslim-dominated Eastern Region, minority Christians are persecuted with impunity. In October, Emmanuel Nyaiti (12) was beaten, strangled and left for dead after he refused to convert to Islam; and the church building established by Pastor Mustafa Waseke for his congregation of converts was razed by a Muslim mob. In December, after losing his home, wife, children, livelihood, parents and inheritance, convert Muhamud Gusolo (28) appealed to local authorities -- but to no avail; and Deborah Gimbo was hospitalised after being violent attacked in her home for praying with other women in Jesus' name. May God intervene for Eastern Region's minority Christians.

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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.

She has authored two books: Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah Speaks to Christians Today (Deror Books, Melbourne, Australia, Dec 2012) which offers a Biblical response to persecution and existential threat; and After Saturday Comes Sunday: Understanding the Christian Crisis in the Middle East (Wipf and Stock, Eugene, OR, USA, June 2016).

See www.ElizabethKendal.com