Sunday, April 20, 2008

Barnabas Fund: Somalia (Direct Post)

Four Christian teachers murdered in Somalia

Four Christian teachers, two of them converts from Islam, were murdered by Islamic militants last Sunday, April 13, in Beledweyne in south-central Somalia.

Mr Daud Assan Ali (aged 64), Ms Rehana Ahmed (aged 32), both of Somali origin, and two Kenyans were shot and killed when militants stormed the school where the Christians were sleeping.

Both Mr Ali and Ms Ahmed lived in the UK and were converts from Islam to Christianity. Mr Ali returned to his home town in 2004 to realize his life-long dream of establishing a school. The Hiran community education project Private English School was only completed one month ago. In his blog for supporters of the school, Mr Ali expressed concern about night-time raids by militant fighters in his last posting on March 30.

A spokesman for the Islamist group responsible for the attack on the town claimed that the killings were not premeditated, but that the four teachers had been caught in cross fire. However, several residents of Beledweyne are convinced that Mr Ali and his colleagues were singled out because they were Christians and the Islamists feared that they were teaching their pupils about Christianity. Mr Ali’s wife also said in an interview that her husband had been targeted because he was a convert from Islam to Christianity.

There are a tiny number of Somali converts to Christianity living in Somalia, many of whom have been murdered in recent years by Islamic radicals, who have vowed to wipe out all Somali Christians. Recent fighting between Somali Islamic militias and Ethiopia has heightened anti-Christian feelings, as there is a long history of conflict between Somalis, who historically have all been Muslims, and Ethiopians, who historically have been majority Christian.

“Somali converts from Islam to Christianity are specially at risk at this moment in time. They need our prayers urgently,” says Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Fund.

Please Pray

  1. Please pray for the families and loved ones of those killed. Pray that the Lord will comfort them and keep them strong.
  2. Pray for the small number of Somali Christians, all converts from Islam, both in Somalia and in other countries, that God will protect them from violence and further attacks.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Open Doors: Chiapas (Update - Direct Post)

On December 22, 1997, a tragedy occurred in Acteal village, located in Chiapas, Mexico. Long-festering ideological and political differences led to an armed confrontation resulting in the senseless killing of 45 indigenous Tzotzil Indians, 37 of whom were women and children. The manhunt for the perpetrators resulted in the arrest and imprisonment of 90 people, of which 83 were unjustly imprisoned. An Open Doors contact reports that about 60 percent of the prisoners in the Acteal case are Christian.

We have recently been updated that the prisoners are doing well in general, although many of them suffer from some sort of illness. The illnesses that are most often suffered are gastritis, diabetes, and hemorrhoids. For this reason, Open Doors has brought in medical groups to help provide the prisoners and other evangelicals with the necessary medical attention.

Fortunately, the imprisoned brothers are allowed to hold church services. Among the incarcerated are six preachers who faithfully lead the services. To supplement the encouragement and Bible instruction from these services, Open Doors provides workshops on the theme of Standing Strong Through the Storm. These workshops strengthen the brothers through biblical lessons that they are able to follow along in their own Bibles, which are printed in their native language, Tzotzil--though some of the brothers can also read Spanish. Most of the brethren have learned to read while in prison and the few who can’t are starting to learn with the help of the others.

Please Pray:
  • That the believers falsely imprisoned for the murders in Acteal will be healed from their illnesses and released from prison. (Matthew 8:8)
  • For the families of the men imprisoned to be able to stand strong in the face of adversity. (1 Corinthians 16:13)

Open Doors: China (Direct Post)

As China deals with the fallout of protests in Tibet and alleged protests in neighboring Xinjiang province, the family of Alimjan Yimit fears that he may be sentenced to death this month after officials accused him of endangering national security. Officials closed Yimit’s business last September and accused him of using it as a cover for “preaching Christianity among people of Uyghur ethnicity.” When they detained him on January 12, they told his family that the arrest was a matter of “national security.”

With the recent crackdown on Tibetan protestors, and an alleged protest in the Uyghur Autonomous Region of Xinjiang that reportedly saw 400 Uyghurs detained by late March, Yimit’s family fears he may be branded as a separatist, a crime punishable by death.
Read More…

Please Pray:
  • That the Chinese government officials will have mercy upon Yimit and release him from prison. (Matthew 12:7)

  • That the Uyghur Christians who have been taken from their families and imprisoned on alleged crimes would be cleared of their charges and be released back to their families. (Matthew 5:19)

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The Fruits of Apathy - South Africa

From Barnabas Fund:


The School Governing Body (SGB) of a Christian-majority high school in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa, has been taken over by Muslim parents. By law meetings must be held to elect members of the SGB. Apathy among the Christian parents meant that hardly any Christians showed up at an electoral meeting, allowing the Muslim parents to seize control of the SBG by winning six of the seven elected positions. In South Africa the curriculum of the school is established by the government, however almost all other management issues relating to the school are decided upon by the SGB. This includes decisions on the headmaster, staff, sport, culture and ethos. This allowed the new SGB to instruct the long-serving principal to stop the traditional praise and worship at the morning assemblies and replace it with a minute of silence. The principal refused and was soon forced to resign. He was then replaced by a Muslim head who has stopped all Christian publications in the school. The Christian parents and pupils have demonstrated against the SGB and the new head and have even taken the matter to court. However, as the SGB was legally and constitutionally elected, the court found in favor of the Muslim SGB. The school has to abide by all SGB decisions.

• Pray that a new election can be held in which a Christian SGB can be elected. Pray for strength and courage for the parents, staff and pupils of this school during this very difficult time.

• Pray that this incident will serve as a reminder to Christians in other contexts that they need to take an active stand in their communities and be alert to Muslim strategies.