Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Open Doors: Egypt, Vietnam, Iraq (Direct Post)

Christians Arrested, Shops Looted in Egyptian Village
Authorities in an Egyptian village arrested 50 Christians, whose shops were then looted to pacify Muslims following violence that erupted on Nov 4. Muslim villagers attacked the homes and shops of the Christians after 14-year-old believer Mina William failed to dismount his donkey as a funeral procession passed. Members of the procession reportedly beat William before completing the procession. According to Compass Direct News, the processional members later attacked homes and shops of local Christians before police broke up the crowd with tear gas. Police in the village have since harassed Christians through intimidation, “fines” and racketeering, taking an estimated $50,000 from village Christians, sources said. Read more on these attacks on Christians in India.

Vietnamese Authorities Pressure New Christians to Recant
According to church leaders in Lao Cai province, authorities in Vietnam’s far north are pressuring new Christians among the Hmong minority to recant their faith and to re-establish ancestral altars, which is in violation of Vietnam’s new religion policy. According to Compass Direct News, when the authorities in the Bac Ha district discovered that villagers had converted to Christianity and discarded their altars, they sent “work teams” to the area to apply pressure. Earlier this month, several high officials were sent to try to convince the converts that the government considered becoming a Christian a very serious offense. Christian leaders in the area told Compass Direct News that there were threats of being cut off from any government services. They also said that when this failed to deter the new Christians, the officials threatened to drive the Christians from their homes and fields, harm them physically and put them in prison. Read more about the government supported persecution in Vietnam.

Special Prayer Request from Maria’s Father, Abdurahman*
Last week Compass Direct News reported that Maria, an Iraqi Christian girl, was released from prison for defending herself and her family from her uncle’s attack. Her uncle had cut her mother with a knife and was fiercely beating them for converting to Christianity and for “shaming” the family.
As we thank the Lord for her early release, we want to also pray for her father, Abdurahman, as he looks for a job or a way to get out of Iraq. Abduraham converted to Christianity in 1998 and has suffered opposition from his Muslim family ever since. Read more about Maria’s release from prison and the obstacles that her family continues to face.

Prayer Points:
  • Please pray that the attacks in Egypt will cease and that this violence-prone area will become a place of peace and unity.
  • Pray for Mina William, the Egyptian Christian boy who suffered the severe beating from Muslim attackers.
  • Pray for a reversal of the new religion policy in Vietnam.
  • Pray for the believers in the Bac Ha to stand strong in the face of persecution.
  • Pray that Maria’s father, Abdurahman, will find a job and be able to provide for his family.

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