Displaying items by tag: IS
Burkina Faso is shaken by political conflict and military coups. ‘Attacks against Christians are common. Many don’t know if they will survive another day. They see loved ones beheaded, raped or reduced to sexual slavery’, said Father Rouamba. He said that Christians are affected on a daily basis by the appalling actions of Al-Qaeda and IS. Terrorists began targeting Christians in Kompienga Province, east Burkina Faso, around Pentecost this year. ‘If people refuse to convert to Islam, they are forced to leave, but as the roads are blocked, they are left to wander around in the forest with no possessions, and many die due to lack of food. These are real tragedies that are not reported in the media.’ Father Rouamba wants to set up support units, offering spiritual and psychological support. Christians who had, to some extent, abandoned religious practice before the crisis are returning to their faith at a time when terrorists are trying to extinguish Christianity.
90% of all Christians killed worldwide are in Nigeria. Christians live in a constant state of terror, fearing abduction, torture, and murder by radical Islamic jihadists. Boko Haram and Nigeria’s arm of IS slaughter innocent Christians and burn down Christian churches. One survivor stated, ‘I saw bodies in the street: children and women, some were crying for help.’ Some attackers even pose as preachers to slaughter Christian congregants and kidnap Christian children. Fulani herdsmen are also increasing their barbaric persecution of Nigerian Christians. They have slaughtered thousands: it's genocide. The American Centre for Law and Justice is launching a multi-pronged legal advocacy campaign, urging the UN, USA, and world leaders to take urgent action. Its global offices are expanding their most extensive campaign for the persecuted Church ever undertaken, filing lawsuits, advocacy letters, and legal submissions to the UN - saying, ‘Together we can protect Christians in Nigeria from the growing scourge of jihadist persecution’.
The 16 June murder of 45 Christian schoolchildren is the latest anti-Christian atrocity committed by ADF. They were hacked to death, shot, or burned alive. Others were abducted. ADF pledges loyalty to IS and has slaughtered hundreds of Christians in north-eastern DRC. Nigeria’s Middle Belt has seen over 1,500 Christians killed in the last 18 months. In May IS released a video of 20 Nigerian Christians being murdered. Islamic State Mozambique (ISM) have beheaded thousands of Christians on social media. ISM celebrates building its Islamic province ‘on heaps of Christian corpses and rivers of their blood’. A Middle East Media Research Institute report stated that IS and al-Qaeda, having been beaten back from Middle East strongholds, have found new pastures for genocide in Africa. They follow the same tactics of mass killings, execution-style beheadings, and burning churches, celebrated in slickly produced publications and social media campaigns designed to entice the next generation of bloodthirsty Islamist terrorists.
On 30 July Islamist militants beheaded two Christian men during an attack on a minibus in northern Mozambique in Cabo Delgado. IS of Mozambique, known locally as al-Shabaab, claimed responsibility for the killings: its statement declared, ‘By the grace of God Almighty, the soldiers of the Caliphate killed two Christians, beheading them, and shooting them with weapons.’ In June IS beheaded several Christians in Cabo Delgado, and another during a raid on a Christian village in Nampula. Cabo Delgado is called ‘the Land of Fear’ owing to persistent brutal violence meted out against both Christians and moderate Muslims over several years. Pray that the Lord will comfort the family and friends of the Christians so brutally murdered. Ask that the violence perpetrated against Christians and moderate Muslims by IS militants will come to an end, that the LORD will rescue His people from their powerful enemy, from their foes who confront them.
Iran's proxy militias have caused the decline of Christians in many regions by adopting ‘forced immigration’. In Lebanon Hezbollah targets missionaries, impedes conversions, imposes strict dress codes and alcohol bans, and limits mixed sexes in public, in what have been dubbed ‘mini-Tehrans.’ A sizeable amount of land owned by Christians has been taken over by Hezbollah through eviction. In Iraq, initially employed to resist American forces, the Shiite Mahdi Army has changed the demography, Making Baghdad 'Christian-free' was high on its agenda when they morphed into IS. Iran had influence in Syria through the Assad family (Alawite Sunni). After the uprising Iran restructured the Syrian Army and created several militias within the Shia Liberation Army. It saved the Assad regime, killing 600,000 people, displacing 6.5 million internally, and forcing 6.6 million to flee Syria. In Yemen the Houthis have invested considerable effort into ending the Christian presence in the territories under their control.
According to military sources, suspected IS-linked extremists decapitated a pastor in Cabo Delgado on 15 December and forced his wife to carry his head to the police station. The monstrous act took place amidst a four-year long insurgency ravaging the country, leaving over 3,000 people dead and almost 100,000 displaced. Pray for the Lord to provide comfort to the wife of this slain pastor, and that He would heal her of the trauma she has had to endure. In a statement after the attack, IS boasted that its affiliate, Al-Shabab (not linked to Somali terror group), had killed dozens of security personnel and Christians, including westerners from what the statement termed ‘Crusader nations.’
Security forces in Uganda have shot dead a Muslim cleric, Sheikh Muhammad Abas Kirevu, accused of working with an armed group linked to suicide bombings in Kampala. He had recruited for cells run by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) - rebels who have pledged allegiance to IS. On 16 November four people were killed and over thirty injured by attackers on motorbikes who blew themselves up in the city: IS claimed responsibility, but officials have blamed the ADF. Twenty-one people have been arrested since the attack, in what police have described as the dismantling of ADF terrorist cells in Kampala and across the country. A police spokesperson said 13 suspects, including several children, had been intercepted while trying to cross the border into DR Congo. Also, on 17 November four suspected ADF operatives were killed near the border.
A large explosion, claimed by IS, tore through a Shi’ite mosque in Kandahar during Friday prayers, killing at least 47 people. That bombing was the third in twelve days, and the deadliest since US forces left in August. It is also the first major IS attack in southern Afghanistan, raising concerns that the group is expanding its reach. Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) says Islamic militant groups do not always support each other; they are all seeking power. US and allied forces withdrew and created a power vacuum that the Taliban want to fill. However, IS wants to take control and plays on the fears of people by creating instability through terrorist attacks. Afghanistan will be unstable as long as there is a power struggle. VOM believes religious freedom underpins all other freedoms. Pray for religious freedom and for the churches to grow and be salt and light.
Gunmen killed over 160 people in Solhan village, still reeling from a coup and instability. It was the worst attack on civilians in years. Heavily armed militants executed members of a local defense force, killed civilians, destroyed houses, and burned the local market to the ground. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. Villagers who fled are returning to bury the dead and clear charred sites that used to be homes. The country declared three days of national mourning. Government officials, blaming the attack on ‘barbaric’ jihadists linked to al-Qaeda and IS, vowed to ‘neutralise the terrorists’ responsible. Al-Qaeda and IS fighters move regularly between Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali. The attack is consistent with other militant assaults on villages. Children and elderly are often burnt in their houses because they can’t escape.
We prayed recently for the capture of terrorists in Indonesiawho killed four Christians. See ‘When you meet the unbelievers, strike the necks’ (Qur’an 47:4). Indonesia, the world’s biggest Muslim-majority nation, has long wrestled with extremist militancy and terror attacks, while Central Sulawesi has seen intermittent violence between Christians and Muslims for decades. After President Suharto’s fall in 1998, Indonesian Muslims who had travelled to join the fight against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980s returned to Indonesia and formed various militant groups and launched multiple terrorist attacks. IS has capitalised on Indonesia’s Islamist networks to boost its recruitment efforts and carry out attacks in the country. IS propaganda is singling out Indonesian Muslims for recruitment.