About 70 people were attending Sunday prayers at Baniarchar Catholic Church in Gopalganj, when a bomb went off killing 10 people and injuring 20 others. Anna Halder, whose son Suman Halder was killed in the 2001 bomb attack, told Compass she wants to see justice within her lifetime. “I want this government to investigate properly to find the real culprits,” she said.
With the election of a new government, the chief priest of Baniarchar Catholic Church, Father Jacob Gobbi, said he has urged officials to revive the investigation. “A completed investigation also would restore the dignity of Christians who became suspects, as police used the initial call for an investigation to detain and harass some Christians,” he said.
The Awami League-led Grand Alliance, which won a landslide victory in elections last Dec. 29, does not include Islamic fundamentalist parties and now carries with it the hope for justice.
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Two More Arrested in Malatya, Turkey Murders
A Turkish court has charged two more men for instigating the murder of three Christians in Malatya in 2007: Huseyin Yelki, a former employee of the Christian publishing house where the Christians were killed, and Varol Bulent Aral, an ex-journalist suspected of ties to a group that tried to engineer a political coup.
While the plaintiff’s attorneys said they don’t believe Aral and Yelki are the masterminds themselves, they hope these two men could act as links for the investigation to go higher up the chain of command. “In my opinion, Yelki and Aral are just middle guys between the real instigators and the ‘hit-men,’” said Cengiz, representing the plaintiff lawyers. “Their inclusion into the court file has sparked hope for the first time since the case started. I hope we will be able to reach the higher links and deliver justice to them.”
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Open Doors Responds to Recent Violence in Jos
Christians in Jos are traumatised by the religious riot of November 28. The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) reports that 129 Christians, including five pastors, were killed. About 45 churches were torched and looted, and more than 30,000 people were displaced during the violence.
Many Christians believe that Muslims used the recent elections as an excuse to cleanse Jos and to forcefully claim the city for Islam. “The Muslims betrayed our trust. We are trying to show them the love of Jesus Christ. We give them land. We welcome them into our houses… God knows our love for them and even after this incident we still love them. They are God’s creatures. We must pray for them,” shared Rev. John Kisa, pastor of the Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA Church) in Jos.
The Open Doors (OD) team in Nigeria is working around the clock to address the immediate needs of victims. OD visited injured Christians in hospitals, gave them Bibles, prayed with them and offered some assistance to cover their medical expenses. OD is planning to provide for fifty widows, including the widows of the five murdered pastors, with trauma counselling, three month’s relief aid as well as school fees for the remainder of this year. OD will also rent temporary housing for the families, while helping them reconstruct their homes. In a few informal displacement camps, OD also had a time of encouragement with Christians as hundreds of Bibles were handed out.
“This is a wonderful development! While others are thinking of physical food, you have brought us Life in its entirety. This is what we need in a time like this,” said a thankful recipient of a Bible.
Please Join in Prayer For:
- Pray for Christians in Bangladesh, Istanbul and Nigeria seeking justice.
- Pray they will allow God to be the author of the justice they seek.
“I know the Lord secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy. Surely the righteous will praise Your name.” Psalm 140:12-13.
- Pray for the authorities in these countries as they investigate and attempt to prosecute.
- Pray their hearts will be open to the truth and that they will be willing to be used by our Father as He imparts justice.
- Pray for the families in Jos as they rebuild their community.
- Pray for OD’s workers as they model Christ while assisting in the rebuilding efforts.
- Pray for divine inspiration and protection.
- Praise God for the example of His servants and followers in the persecuted church. Pray for their courage, strength and boldness as they proclaim His name and endure the cost.