Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 499 | Wed 24 Apr 2019
RLPB is published weekly to facilitate strategic intercessory prayer.
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-- Elizabeth Kendal
'I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.' (John 16:33 ESV)
APRIL 2019 UPDATE -- during this period we prayed concerning
* INDIA (RLPB 496), where elections are currently under way, with the last of seven phases to take place on 19 May. Results will be announced on 23 May. Please pray for the Church in India and for a breakthrough against Hindutva.
* INDONESIA (RLPB 497), where elections were held on 17 April.
UPDATE: Counting to date indicates that Joko Widodo will win the presidential poll by a margin of around 10 percent. Despite this, Probowo Subianto is claiming victory and rallying his Islamist supporters, preparing them to protest if he is not declared the winner on 22 May. Analysts suspect that Subianto is inciting unrest so he might use his influence over the radical Islamists as leverage to secure seats in the cabinet for his Gerinda party. Meanwhile, Jokowi's running mate, the soon-to-be Vice President Amin Ma'ruf, is doubtless preparing to extract payment for the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) backing he provided which shielded Jokowi from Islamist attack and essentially got him over the line. None of this bodes well for Indonesian Christians. [See also Indonesia: from Pancasila to Islamisation, Religious Liberty Monitoring, 11 April.] Indeed, there is a real danger that, after the results are announced on 22 May, Indonesia's religious and ethnic minorities -- who voted overwhelming for Jokowi on 17 April -- might find themselves positioned as the objects of Islamist wrath. On top of that, they will also be forced to watch in horror as the NU agenda unfolds in parliament. Please pray for the Church in Indonesia.
* EASTER and the pivotal victory that Christ secured on the Cross. We prayed that the Church might be revived and emboldened to step out in faith to support the persecuted Church -- that we might be one that the world might believe (John 17:20-26). [See RLPB 498. Easter Reflection: A Redemptive Response to Persecution.]
EASTER CHURCH BOMBINGS IN SRI LANKA
|St Sebastian's Church, Negombo|
|For details see: Long War Journal|
Whilst the IS spokesman did reference the New Zealand mosque attack, it was only to say that Muslims do not need an excuse to kill 'the mushrikin' (polytheists) -- on the contrary, it is their ongoing duty. [NOTE: IS deems Christians polytheists because of their doctrine of the Trinity.] Of course, neither Sri Lankans nor Christians had anything to do with the Christchurch attack, which was perpetrated by an Australian self-described atheist, ecofascist. If there is going to be genuine retaliation, then it is more likely to hit Australians at Gallipoli on Thursday 25 April (ANZAC Day). It would be foolish of IS to view Sri Lanka as a soft target.
|Funeral grief, 23 April|
footage from Sky News
APRIL 2019 ROUND-UP -- also this month
* CHINA: CALLING ALL WILLING INFORMANTS
Guangzhou, the capital city of Guangdong Province, has become the first provincial capital in China to offer financial rewards to informants who report 'illegal religious activities'. Informants can earn between 5,000 and 10,000 yuan (US$1,500) for information that leads to the arrest of a non-Chinese religious leader, between 3,000 and 5,000 yuan for information that leads to the closure of a foreign religious group and between 100 and 3,000 yuan for information about locally organised unregistered (i.e., illegal) gatherings and their leaders. Ying Fuk-tsang, director of the Divinity School of Chung Chi College at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, told South China Morning Post that the mobilisation of grass-roots officials and community groups for social control purposes, including cracking down on religious activities, is increasingly common. 'This will compress the survival space of house churches,' he said. 'Not only will they have to deal with the official crackdown but now also the threat from their neighbours.' Please pray for the Church in China.
* CUBA: A FRESH WAVE OF PERSECUTION RISES
In a referendum in February, Cubans voted in favour of amending the constitution to include modest reforms, to strengthen socialism, restrict religious liberty and pave the way for same-sex marriage. Because of its strong opposition, the Church was labelled counter-revolutionary' [see: RLPB 491 (27 Feb)]. Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reports that since then some of Cuba's largest Protestant denominations have been banned from receiving foreign visitors. During April, a number of pastors affiliated with the Apostolic Movement were cited and interrogated by the police. After 20 years of ministry, the Nazarene Church in Granma has had its land confiscated. On 18 April Rev Ramon Rigal and his wife Ayda Exposito -- who are home-schooling their children with the support of a Christian college in Guatemala -- were detained in Guantanamo and put on trial for refusing to send their children to a government-run school. [NOTE: All schools in Cuba are run by the socialist government; there is no alternative as teachers are expected to 'instil socialist values'.] Please pray for the Church in Cuba.
* MALAYSIA: PASTOR 'DISAPPEARED' BY POLICE FOR 'PROSELYTISING'
|Documentary on disappearance |
of Raymond Koh (14 Feb 2018)
On 3 April the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) named the Malaysian police intelligence unit's Special Branch as the state actors responsible for the 'enforced disappearances' of Pastor Raymond Koh (64) and Amri Che Mat (45, a convert from Sunni to Shia Islam who was abducted on 24 November 2016 in a similar style to Pastor Koh). The investigation concluded that the men were 'disappeared' because of their religious activities. Pastor Koh's whereabouts and well-being remain unknown, as do the whereabouts and well-being of Amri Che Mat, and Pastor Joshua Hilmy and his wife Ruth Hilmy, who also disappeared in Malaysia in November 2016.
On Holy Saturday, Koh's wife, Susanna Liew, delivered a copy of the full Suhakam report [PDF] on the disappearance of her husband to the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM), praying and hoping that by a miracle of grace, her husband might still be alive. Please pray for truth, justice and accountability. May Pastor Koh's family and the Hilmy family know the sustaining love and comfort of Christ.
*NIGERIA: INFANT DEDICATION CONCLUDES IN MASSACRE
|They had been celebrating the |
dedication of a child to God.
Morning Star News
* SUDAN: CHURCH OFFICIALLY JOINS PROTESTS
|Church officially joins protests|
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).