Tuesday, February 28, 2006

B.A.S.I.C. Fellowship

If these stories move you, Voice of the Martyrs has a way to be of more direct help. Check out B.A.S.I.C. Fellowship for resources, including lists of those imprisoned to write to. B.A.S.I.C. stands for "Brothers and Sisters in Chains". Remember what Paul said in Hebrews 13:3 (NKJV): "Remember the prisoners as if chained with them--those who are mistreated--since you yourselves are in the body also."

Here in the U.S., at least, international letter (and postcard) mail is cheap and relatively quick. There's no excuse not to take a few minutes and remember one of our brothers or sisters. It could make all the difference to them, whether from the standpoint of morale -- knowing that people remember you, or even in their standard of care. The people who imprison them count on their being forgotten. A reminder that that isn't so can give them better circumstances; maybe even get them released.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Persecution Continues in India

ICC reports that Gospel for Asia (GFA) missionaries showing a film about Jesus in Haryana were beaten by young Hindu fundamentalists. When some among the gathering of about 200 attempted to help them, they were beaten as well. More here.

K. P. Yohannon, founder of GFA, reports on the situation in India. More here.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Eritrean Protestant Military Conscripts Jailed

I'm a little late on this one, but I think this calls for a letter to the President of Eritrea.

"February 2 (Compass) – Eritrean military authorities jailed 75 Protestant Christians yesterday at the Sawa Military Training Camp for 'reading Bibles and praying during their free time,' local sources in the small East Africa nation confirmed. Most of the newly arrested evangelicals, 37 of them women, are student youths doing their compulsory national military service at Sawa, a remote center near Eritrea’s mountainous western border with Sudan. The 75 young conscripts put under 'military detention and punishment' had not attempted to conduct any Christian meeting at Sawa or committed any other transgression of military law. 'In Sawa, to possess your own Bible and keep your personal devotion and loyalty to Christ is not allowed,' an Eritrean Christian told Compass. 'This is considered an act of Christian extremism.'"

Here's his address:

His Excellency Issayas Afewerki
President of Eritrea
Office of the President
P.O. Box 257

Remember to keep letters simple, courteous and factual. Here's a
link to a letter written about journalists which I think sets the right tone and is a good example. Airmail Letter Post to Eritrea from the US is only $.84 and takes 4-7 days.

If you'd prefer fax or e-mail, the only thing I could find was
this page, which had contacts to Eritrean embassies in Washington, London and Ottawa. If anyone can supply direct connects to the President, please forward them to me and I'll publish them.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Barnabas Fund starts new "Right to Justice" for Christian minorities

The Barnabas Fund has started a new campaign called "The Right to Justice".

From their site, here are some examples of what they are trying to prevent:

"A 7-year-old Pakistani Christian girl was gang-raped by her Muslim neighbours. Dozens of villagers were witnesses, but the police released the four men unpunished. When her father protested, the rapists framed him for murder.

In 2005 a Christian lecturer in Nigeria was accused of "assault on Muslim sisters and blasphemy against Allah and Islam". The lecturer had asked a female Muslim student to remove the covering over her face, as the Council for Legal Education rules prohibit clothing which concealed the identity of a student.

In Indonesia three Christian women have been imprisoned for allowing Muslim children to attend their after-school Christian children's club. The children's Muslim grandmother had asked if they could attend."

So often it is impossible for Christians in countries where they are minorities, or forbidden (China, for instance) to receive justice, not only in "criminal" matters, but also in simple basic life matters, such as custody, inheritance, being witnesses or having jobs or homes. Even in the Western media, injustice against Christians is rarely reported (which is part of why I do this blog), but let the Christians react and it will become a headline. For example, the conflict in the Sudan, which was largely Muslim north against the largely-Christian south, was reported as race against race, not one religion taking action against another.

Please go to the site below and sign the petition.

The Right to Justice - Home

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Barnabas Fund director speaks out on Nigerian violence

Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Fund, commented:

"It is interesting that when Muslims attack Western embassies it is news, and when Christians retaliate against Muslim violence it is news. But when Muslims attack vulnerable Christian minorities to take revenge for publishing cartoons that are nothing to do with the Christian victims, it is barely mentioned in the media. When Christian organisations joined with Muslim organisations in the UK on 18th February to protest in London against the cartoons, did they have any concern for what Muslims are doing to Christian minorities who have absolutely no connection with the cartoons?"

"While I utterly deplore the Christian counter-attacks in Nigeria - for Christians should always be people of peace not violence - Archbishop Akinola has rightly pointed out that peaceful conduct is all too often seen as weakness by Muslims. This perceived weakness makes Christians all the more likely to be targeted. Western Christian leaders and Western governments, who are eager to prevent Muslim feelings from being hurt, do not seem to have the courage to speak out about what is happening to innocent Christian minorities in the Muslim world. If they will not condemn the anti-Christian violence or even publicise it, can they be so surprised when non-Western Christians -- goaded beyond endurance -- finally fight back?"

I'm sorry that it has come to this -- as Dr. Sookhdoo so rightly points out, Christians are never called to violence and retaliation -- but, sadly, I'm not surprised. But he's also right that those "christians" who have rushed to support Islam and oppose the cartoons don't seem to have given much thought to the non-involved who are paying the price. It's easy to chant and wave signs when you aren't going to feel the consequences.

The Australian Christian Lobby

Acceptance of their intolerance - it's all part of radical Islam's plan.

An interesting article about the West's response (or lack thereof) to the "cartoon" riots.

VOM: Turkish Pastor Beaten by Muslims Claiming Connection to Al Qaeda

Voice of the Martyrs has received a report that a Protestant minister was beaten unconscious outside his church by Muslims claiming to belong to Al Qaeda. From the pastor's direct report:

"They were continuously beating me while I was lying in blood. Suddenly, one of them put a big knife to my belly and asked me again to deny Jesus and become a Muslim. He said that if I do not deny Jesus and accept Islam as my religion, he was going to cut me into pieces."

Yep, Islam is the religion of peace.

Nigeria: The Central Government Fiddles While the North Burns

The World Evangelical Alliance/Religious Liberty Committee has an excellent exposition on the things going on in Nigeria: (Here) per the article from yesterday. Please pray for those affected by this government's behavior.

In addition, the "cartoon intifada" is spreading there as well. It is believed that 31 churches were burned and 51 believers have been killed by Muslim rioters. One of them was a Catholic priest, Fr. Matthew Gajere, who was murdered and burned in his apartment.
Compass Direct covers that.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Open Doors: India, Nigeria

Nigeria:* The Nigerian government reports that Kano state in northern Nigeria was seeking foreign support to train 100 jihadists among vigilante enforcers of Islamic law (sharia) called Hisbah. The state sought to train the militants in "intelligence" and the "practice of jihad" with the help of foreign Islamic governments. According to Compass Direct Christians in Kano have been the target of severe assault, harassment, intimidation, and flagrant violation of religious rights by the Hisbah; the Hisbah has been labelled a "terror machine" in the hands of fanatical Islamic governments whose aim is to eliminate Christianity in northern Nigeria. Christian women are especially terrorized, forced to comply with the sharia's strict regulations for women, and raped and beaten for little to no reason at all; Christian families are divided as a result of the Islamic laws. As one Nigerian Christian avows, "Unless the Nigerian government acts to protect us, we have nothing to do we are hopeless here." Read More>>

Please join us in prayer for:

-The protection and safety of all Christians living in Kano state in Nigeria, especially Christian women, who are suffering the most.

- The Nigerian government to intervene and prevent the further training and advancement of the Hisbah "terror machine".

- The love of God to flow through His people in the midst of this persecution.

- The deliverance of the jihadists and Muslim officials, that they might know the love of Christ.

India:* Organizers of a "reconversion" rally held last weekend in Gujarat indicated during the closing ceremony that Christianity is a major threat to Indian nationalism. These Nationalist Shabri Kumbh coordinators led the 60,000-strong crowd to repeat, “I will save my religion,” and the throng often shouted, “Jai Shri Ram (Praise be to the god Rama).” According to Compass Direct the assembly resolved to save the Hindu religion and Bharat Mata (Mother India goddess) by reconverting Christians. Sadhvi Ritambhara, a popular Hindu preacher whose programs are aired on several TV channels, said, “They [Christians] call us harvest. They intend to pluck us out. And foreigners want to do this to us.” Ritambhara said it was imperative for Hindus to take up arms to save their religion, requesting them to dedicate mind, body, and money for this cause; he promises that this is only the beginning.
Read More>>

Please join is in prayer for:

- The safety and empowerment of all Christians living in India, national and foreign-born alike.

- The strength and faith of the Indian Church amidst opposition, oppression and forced re-conversion.

- The failure of the nationalist organization’s attempts to curb the growth and spread of Christianity.

- The love of God to continue to pour into and through that nation.

Open Doors: Sri Lanka, Nigeria

Sri Lanka* Two churches in Sri Lanka were attacked last weekend as threats from Buddhist monks continued amid tensions between the government and Tamil rebels. In late January, a threatening mob gathered outside an Assembly of God church in Bolaththa, just north of Colombo, to demonstrate against them. Some from the mob returned the next day to the pastor's house, which is part of the church building, and shattered the windows by throwing stones. The next day, about 20 men brandishing rods and sticks walked into another AOG pastor's house, which was also part of a church building in Alpitiya, located on the southern coast of Sri Lanka. The pastor's wife and their three young children were at home alone when the intruders entered and demanded that they cease all Christian activities. Read More>>

Please join us in prayer for:

-The peace talks to resume between the government and the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) rebel group.

- An end to the Buddhist campaign focused on closing Christian Churches.

- The family of the pastors who were traumatized by the attacks.

- The healing of these communities and for the church body in Sri Lanka to continue to grow despite the opposition.

Nigeria* On October 10, 2003, the local Bakura town government gave notice to the pastor of St. Peter's Anglican Church in Zamfara state that his church would be demolished the following day. That marked the beginning of an assault by Islamic fundamentalists in Zamfara under the leadership of Gov. Alhaji Ahmed Sani through imposition of sharia (Islamic law). According to Compass Direct,14 churches are currently marked for demolition in Gusau town alone. “We have been served with demolition notices and even then, there have been announcements over the radio and television on the churches to be demolished,” said Rev. James Obi, secretary of the Zamfara chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria. “It is just a matter of time, and these churches will be no more.”
Read More>>

Please join us in prayer for:

- The governor of Bakura. He wants the churches in his hometown destroyed. Pray for a change of his heart toward God and to not give the order to burn them down.

- The truth to be known in the Zamfara state. Currently many false reports have been made and our Christian brothers and sisters are suffering.

- Kabiru Lawal, a former Muslim who four months ago received Christ. He currently faces the death penalty and is in hiding.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Voice of the Martyrs - News

INDIA: Pastors Beaten and Paraded Through the Streets
February 17, 2006

The Voice of the Martyrs
While handing out tracts on January 30 in the slums of Indore, India, Assistant Pastor Jojin of Gospel Church of God was attacked by members of the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) militant Hindu organization before chasing him off. In the weeks prior, Jojin's church had been the target of Hindu aggression.

Less than a week later, on February 5, a mob of around 40 Hindu extremists arrived at the compound of the Pentecostal church. The attackers then stormed into the church by breaking down its door while Pastor Jojin and trainee, Pastor Jijo, were preparing for the morning's prayer service. They proceeded to beat the two pastors, destroying Bibles and taking away portions of Scripture, as well as worship books.

Afterwards, the pastors were abducted and paraded up and down the streets of Indore as the frenzied crowd beat and humiliated them. Police took the wounded pastors into custody once they showed up on the scene, only to escort them to the hospital shortly thereafter.

Since the incident, police have arrested three of the assailants, who accused Jojin and Jijo of spreading lies to the public and leading Hindus to convert to Christianity.

From Forum 18 - Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan



Kosovo's latest draft religion law, drawn up in secrecy under Austrian auspices, privileges the Muslim community, Catholics and the Serbian Orthodox Church, Forum 18 News Service has learnt. The draft law has the support of these communities, but others disagree with its provisions. Amongst disputed issues are proposals to give some communities 'special status' but effectively bar others from receiving this for at least 10 years. Pastor Artur Krasniqi stressed in general to Forum 18 that Protestants 'do not agree in any way with any discrimination whatsoever towards any religious group'. He was also concerned by the majority Muslim community's attitude to minorities, and Chief Imam Sabri Bajgora's recent statement that 'Muslims will not be responsible for any consequences whatsoever to Protestants if they do not stop their activity in this country.' The OSCE Mission noted that it looks at all draft laws 'especially when they concern the rights of smaller religious and ethnic communities.'



The recent murder of an ethnic Kyrgyz convert to Christianity, Saktinbai Usmanov, was the culmination of a long series of intolerant incidents, Forum 18 News Service has found. Usmanov was the only Christian in his village. The intolerance was encouraged by the village Mullah, Nurlan Asangojaev, although most of the attackers were themselves drunk, which is forbidden in Islam. Asangojaev arranged for Usmanov to be banned from community events after his conversion, which is very painful for the traditionally community-centred Kyrgyz. He has also barred Usmanov from being buried in the village cemetery. Mullah Asangojaev has since Usmanov's murder told Forum 18 and others that "I can't offer any convincing proof, but I am sure that Saktinbai was killed by Protestants because he wanted to return to Islam." This is strongly denied by Saktinbai Usmanov's son, Protestant Pastor Ruslan Usmanov, who told Forum 18 that this is a "monstrous slander." There are numerous incidents of intolerance, including official hostility, towards Christian converts from Muslim backgrounds throughout Central Asia, Forum 18 has found.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Middle Eastern Christians caught in "Cartoon Intifada" (WLC RLP Bulletin)

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin - No. 365 - Wed 15 Feb 2006
plus update on India; Pakistan

While the Danish cartoon controversy has triggered protests all across the Muslim world, political factors put Christians in the Middle East at particular risk of 'cartoon intifada (uprising)' violence.

There are multitudes of pictures of Mohammad in the world: in text books, history books, art works, and even cartoons. The present 'cartoon intifada' has been incited by Islamic clerics, the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC). It is in essence an intifada against Western press freedoms and reluctance to honour Islamic standards, along with implicit demands for special protection and concessions for Islam. But as this is not the first time Mohammad has appeared in art - even offensive cartoon art - why this uprising now?

The June 2005 democratic elections in Lebanon saw the militant Islamic terror group Hezbollah make considerable gains. Then in November 2005, the banned Muslim Brotherhood, running its members as independents, made significant gains in Egypt's elections. But when the January 2006 election in the Palestinian Territories ended the dominance of the secular-Fatah party and put the Islamic terrorist organisation Hamas in power, that really sent a great shockwave through the dictatorial regimes of the Arab world.

Radicalised, and tired of the depressing, repressive status quo, Muslim populations throughout the Middle East are massively deserting Arab nationalism, hoping for relief through Islamism. When given the opportunity to choose their leaders, they are increasingly choosing Islamists in preference to the 'secular' or 'moderates'. Secular and moderate Arab regimes are now having to compete with militant Islamist forces for the affections of their people. These politically threatened regimes are boosting their Islamic credentials and currying favour with their angry, radicalised masses by supporting and even owning this 'cartoon intifada'. The days of 'moderation' are coming to an end and Christians in the Middle East risk being treated as scapegoats for anti-West Muslim rage.

** TURKEY: On Sunday 5 February a teenage gunman shouting 'God is great!' shot and killed Father Andrea Santoro (59) at the entry to the Santa Maria Catholic Church in the northern city of Trabzon after Sunday mass. Days later, a group of youths entered St Helen's monastery in Izmir and attacked Fr Martin Kmetec, aSlovenian Franciscan friar. They grabbed him by the throat and shouted, 'We will kill you all,' and then beat him.

** LEBANON: On Sunday 5 February some 20,000 protesters rioted in the Christian Ashrafiyeh district where the Danish Embassy is located, overturning cars, throwing rocks and smashing windows. The Embassy was torched while the Mar Maroun Church in Gemayzeh was attacked and vandalised. (More than half of those arrested were Palestinian and Syrian.)

** GAZA: Islamic militants have ordered the Bible Society to cease working in Gaza. They have instructed the landlord to evict the Bible Society from its premises by 28 February, threatening to bomb the building on 1 March.


* God to mercifully and wonderfully protect Christians who are without security in the midst of Islamic protests and rage. 'For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.' Psalm 27:5

* God to intervene and block those seeking to exploit people's frustrations to whip up emotion and incite hatred and violence for their own ends. See Psalm 9:15,16


Update: India, Pakistan

* DANGS, Gujarat, northwest India: The Shabri Kumbh Mela has passed without a violent pogrom, and for that we thank our God who hears and answers prayers. However, Dangi Christians fear about their future. A torrent of toxic anti-Christian hate propaganda has saturated the district and is being spread across north India. Please watch and pray, for while the festival has ended, the Shabri Kumbh Mela was really launching a serious, ongoing assault on the Church in the north India tribal belt.

* PAKISTAN TOO: Tuesday 14 February 'cartoon intifada' riots descended into violence and destruction across Pakistan. Western Christian sites have been attacked. Christians in Pakistan are facing much the same situation as Christians in the Middle East. On Tuesday 7 February the government gave support to an opposition private member's bill seeking to repeal Pakistan's Islamic Hudood Laws. The Hudood Laws strip women of security and rights before the law and Christian women are especially vulnerable. The National Assembly is now debating the bill, which appears to have the numbers to pass. Please pray that it will be carried.

From Forum 18 - Romania, Uzbekistan


The right to believe, to worship and witness
The right to change one's belief or religion
The right to join together and express one's belief

31 January 2006


Religious minorities and human rights groups are worried over the proposed new religion law, which resumes its parliamentary progress in the lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, on 1 February. 'This is a very critical time for religious liberty in Romania,' Evangelical Alliance president Pastor Paul Negrut told Forum 18 News Service. He complained that the government-drafted law passed unchanged through the upper house, the Senate, in December. Peter Eckstein-Kovacs, head of the Senate's legal committee, recognises that the draft is 'problematic' but denied to Forum 18 that its adoption by the Senate without a vote had been a 'trick'.

Adventists, Baptists and other Protestants, Greek Catholics, Jehovah's Witnesses and Baha'is have already complained about the draft law. 'The draft law infringes many laws and the Constitution of Romania, as well as international human rights commitments to which Romania is subject,' Iustina Ionescu of the Bucharest-based Centre for Legal Resources told Forum 18.

2 February 2006


A Protestant pastor is convinced that a brutal assault he was subjected to, which left him unconscious and needing a week in hospital, was arranged by the Uzbek authorities. He thinks that this is the reason why the police do not want to open a criminal investigation.

"In early January I saw my attackers on the street and now I even know where they live. But the police don't even want to talk to me," Bakhtier Tuichiev told Forum 18 News Service. Separately, sources from across Uzbekistan have told Forum 18 that recently the authorities have closed down many charitable organisations run by Christians. The closures include attempts to close down the charities "voluntarily," using similar tactics as have been ordered against religious communities in the capital, Tashkent. The authorities have refused to discuss either the assault on Pastor Tuichiev or the charity closures with Forum 18, but claim that there have recently been increased complaints about non-Muslim missionaries.

From Barnabas Fund - Famine in Kenya


10 February 2006


There is a serious famine situation in north-east Kenya where
Christians are a minority and likely to be overlooked in aid distribution.

Barnabas Fund is appealing for donations to help.

"There is very great drought and famine in the country. As a result churches are greatly affected. There is hardly any water for home use, the harvesting failed terribly and still no sign of rain for planting. Can you through the Lord and brothers abroad be able to lend us hand at this demanding time? I am really finding it hard as I go preaching and visiting starving brothers and sisters in the Lord." These are the words of a
Christian leader in Kenya appealing for help.

Concern increases about the situation in north-east Kenya and the Horn of Africa because of the famine that is afflicting the area. The Kenyan government estimates that 3.5 million people including 500,000 young children face hunger and possible starvation in 25 districts.

The situation has been caused by poor rains over recent months. This has badly hit the farmers and the livestock on which many pastoralists rely for food and income.

"Malnutrition rates among children are alarmingly high
and the areas have already seen large numbers of livestock deaths," said a government minister. He categorised the outlook as "grim" for many people.

An early response will go a long way towards forestalling a major disaster. Even if the next rains come on time in March-April the harvest will not be ready until July-August. Barnabas Fund has already sent an advance grant to a Christian organisation working to assist in north-east Kenya to be used to provide maize for hungry Christians. Christians are a majority in Kenya as a whole, but they are a minority in much of the north-east of thecountry where the famine is centred. Muslims form the majority communityin this area, and there are serious concerns that Christian communities may be excluded from general aid distribution. Experience in other countries shows that Christian minorities in Muslim areas tend to suffer disproportionately in any natural disaster. Local Christian organisations have appealed to Barnabas Fund for aid. Food, vitamin supplements, clean water and medical packs (including re-hydration products) are among the likely needs. Aid through local Christian groups generally proves to be the best way to provide cost-effective and accountable assistance to the neediest Christians in times of disaster. Barnabas Fund is closely monitoring the situation in Kenya and the Horn of Africa and also in Tanzania where similar problems are starting to appear in some regions. Barnabas Fund is appealing for assistance to help Christians in the famine area. All support will be channeled through Christian organisations on the ground.

Please click this link
https://secure.barnabasfund.org/ to donate onlineusing our secure server. (Please quote project reference 25-608 when you send your gift.)

If you prefer to telephone, dial:0800 587 4006 from within the UK or +44 1672 565031 from outside theUK. (Please quote project reference 25-608 when you send your gift.)

If you prefer to send a cheque by post, click this link
http://www.barnabasfund.org/otherwaystodonate.htm for addresses of our regional offices and to print a donation page. (Please quote project reference 25-608 when you send your gift.)


Pray for all who are suffering in the famine areas of Kenya, the Horn ofAfrica and Tanzania that help will reach them in time. Remember in particular Christian minorities in Muslim-majority famine areas who are fearful that they will be excluded from general aid distribution.

Pray that Barnabas Fund will be able to make sure that their needs are met. Pray that the March-April rains will come on time and for a good harvest later in the year.

Pray for Venezuela

Venezuela:* Complying with President Hugo Chavez's order to leave Venezuela's indigenous lands by today, the last two New Tribes Mission (NTM) workers left the area late last week. Chavez's edict, published in the Official Gazette last November 14, expelled NTM from indigenous lands in Venezuela. The tiny churches among Venezuela's indigenous peoples will be immediately affected, as it will now be necessary for the indigenous people to assume absolute leadership over churches and seminaries. "What we need to pray about is for these people who will take the leadership of their own people," said Samuel Olson, head of the Evangelical Council of Venezuela. Read More>>

Please join in prayer for:

- Empowerment of these tribal Christians in Venezuela to lead their churches and seminaries.

- Strength and courage to continue their witness to the community despite outside pressures.

- Godly teachers and anthropologists to enter these communities where specific missions groups were forced to leave.

- The nation of Venezuela, its government, leaders, and unbelieving population to come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ.

Friday, February 10, 2006

From Open Doors - Prayer Items (Egypt, India)

Egypt:* Under the dual standards of Egyptian law, Christian citizens are free to legally convert to Islam, but Muslims are prohibited from changing their religion. According to Compass Direct two young Coptic Christian women, whose father had converted to Islam when they were infants, have won a court battle in Egypt to retain their official religious identity as Christians. In the final verdict, presiding Judge Farouk Ali Abdel Kader declared that the Muslim civil authorities had conducted a "non-justified intervention" which overstepped their authority by attempting to impose Islam upon the two plaintiffs. Read More>>

Please join us in prayer for:

- Integrity within the courts, that justice will continue to be administered for Christians caught within the laws of predominately Islamic Egypt.

- The faith and perseverance of the 10 percent of Egypt's population that is Coptic Christian.

- The ability of the Christian Church to love their Muslim countrymen.

- All Muslims in Egypt, that they might know Christ.

India:* A 50-person-strong Hindu mob attacked a new Catholic school and boarding hostel as the facility was inaugurated on Sunday, January 29 in Maharashtra state. The mob threw stones into the crowd, broke chairs and beat participants with sticks. Hindu extremists had asked the police three days before the opening ceremony not to allow the school to operate in Ghosali village. Despite this intimation of possible violence, police did not inform staff at the school and offered no protection for the event. The mob accused Catholic school staff of trying to convert their children by offering them education; they began to chant, "Leave! We don’t want Christians here!”
Read More>>

Please join us in prayer for:

- The school, that it might be a “light” in the midst of darkness.

- The children of this school, that they might be loved and find Christ despite the persecution.

- The protection of Christians, and non-Christians alike, from acts of hatred by extremist groups.

- The strength of the Church, and its ability to care for its people, as well as those outside of the faith.

- Those men and women who hate and attack Christians, that they might find life and truth --- remember who Paul was before he answered the personal call to Christ.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Bombing of Iraqi Churches Linked to Danish Cartoons

(Source: Barnabas Fund)

A spate of car bombs exploded outside churches in Iraq last Sunday 29th January in what appears to have been a coordinated attack. The explosions occurred within a half hour period, apparently chosen to coincide with the time at which Christians would be going to church.

Two churches in the northern city of Kirkuk and at least two others in the capital Baghdad were targeted. At least three people, including a 13-year-old boy, were killed and an estimated 16-20 people injured. According to some reports as many as seven churches were bombed.

The bombings were condemned by some Muslim political leaders including Ali al-Adeeb (Shi'a) and Naweer al-Ani (Sunni).

A similar incident of near-simultaneous explosions at Iraqi churches happened on Sunday 1st August 2004 during the time of the evening service. Four churches in Baghdad and one in Mosul were bombed on that occasion, with some 15 fatalities.


Many Christians in Iraq are connecting this week's church bombings with the growing furore across the Muslim world caused by the publication of some cartoons caricaturing Muhammad in a Danish newspaper on 30th September

These cartoons have been republished this week by newspapers in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland.


On the same day, 29th January, Christian students at Mosul University were beaten up by Muslim students. Some days earlier a number of fatwas had been issued by sheikhs in Mosul, acting in reponse to pressure from Islamic militias in the city. The fatwas called for their followers to “expel the crusaders and infidels from the streets, schools and institutions becausethey insulted the person of the prophet in Denmark”.


Yesterday, 1st February, a Kuwaiti newspaper reporting on the Danish cartoons stated that Islamic cleric Sheikh Nazem Mesbah had issued a fatwa calling for the killing of people who insulted Muhammad in this way. Other Islamic clerics rejected this fatwa citing the need to comply with the realities of the modern era.


* Pray for the protection of Christians in Iraq from those Muslims who want to punish them for the actions of other people in “Christian countries” like the US, UK and Denmark. Pray that Christians will be recognised as loyal citizens instead of constantly mistrusted. Pray that Christians will not give way to fear, despite the efforts of those who want to intimidate them into fleeing from their homeland.

* Pray that the Muslim political leaders who condemned the bombings will have greater influence in society at large than the radical leaders who encourage such anti-Christian violence. Pray for courageous Muslim clerics to issue fatwas calling for justice and security for Iraqi Christians.

* Pray for stability and peace in Iraq, remembering all who mourn those of every nationality who have died in the violence there.

* Pray that the republishing of the Danish cartoons in other European countries will not result in violence against Christian minorities in Muslim-majority countries.