Displaying items by tag: Religion

Friday, 09 September 2022 09:40

Somalia: al-Shabaab replacing al-Qaeda

On 2 September, al-Shabaab terrorists killed 18 civilians and destroyed several relief trucks in central Somalia. Al-Shabaab has increased attacks over the summer. In August they killed several Somali soldiers and attacked military bases in Kenya, Mali, and Ethiopia. An attack on a Mogadishu hotel lasting 35 hours killed 21 people. Its leaders want to replace al-Qaeda and expand their reach. Al-Qaeda has not found a leader to replace Ayman al-Zawahiri. If one is not chosen soon, al-Shabaab could declare its East African government separate from al-Qaeda and hope to overthrow the government of Somalia itself. They are receiving resources through forcing people to pay taxes by threatening them, bombing their businesses, or kidnapping their daughters. Despite the danger, many continue to share the story of Jesus. These are not US or European missionaries; they are Muslim background believers living in close proximity in the same culture. World Mission sends them solar-powered audio Bibles in the local language.

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 01 September 2022 21:24

Exodus of Russian Jews

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, 20,500 of Russia’s Jews (12.5%) have moved to Israel, where anyone who has at least one Jewish grandparent has the right to citizenship. An estimated 30,000 other dual passport holders have left Russia for Israel since March. Thousands more have moved to other countries. In March Moscow’s former chief rabbi Goldschmidt fled to Israel, where he now lives in exile. He said that the Jewish community was pressured to support the war publicly, but did not want to do so. Many believe the security and future of Russian Jews depends on Israel-Russia relations, which currently are extremely precarious, especially after Israeli premier Yair Lapid condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Lapid also made it clear that the threatened closure of the Russian branch of the Jewish Agency would be a ‘serious event’, potentially endangering bilateral ties.

Published in Europe
Thursday, 01 September 2022 21:07

Nicaragua: Church being silenced

Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) is urgently calling for prayers for Nicaragua amid an escalation of efforts to silence the Church. The expulsion of the country’s Apostolic Nuncio was followed by the abduction of Bishop Rolando, the Apostolic Administrator of a vacant diocese, along with three priests, two seminarians, a deacon and a photographer. Bishop Álvarez is under house arrest after he criticised the closure of Catholic radio stations. ACN said, ‘These events represent further escalations in an attempt to silence the Nicaraguan Church. There is no easy solution. We need to support them as much as possible and pray for a peaceful solution and no further increase in hostilities. This crisis is critical. In less than four years, the Catholic Church has suffered over 190 attacks, including a fire in the Cathedral of Managua.’ Street processions are prohibited, religious celebrations are interrupted, and the police intimidate worshippers at churches.

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 01 September 2022 21:05

Oman: 91% are unreached

Oman’s economy is heavily dependent on declining oil reserves. It has begun focusing on tourism as a new source of economic growth. Diverse untouched landscapes of coastlines, deserts, and mountains are unique destinations for travellers. The Oman Arab Bank recently sponsored their third tourism forum to train young adults in the tourism industry. While this boosts Oman’s economy, it is also an opportunity for the Gospel to reach five million people who have never heard the good news of Jesus’ love and gift of salvation. Proselytising is illegal, and those in active Christian ministry experience pressure to leave the country. But as tourism increases, creative access to new people groups will become more feasible. Pray for successful expansion of current Oman ministries: relief and water projects, media, literature, business as ministry, urban evangelism, and church planting. As tourism meets the financial needs of Oman, may the Church go forth to meet the spiritual needs.

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 01 September 2022 20:56

Iraq: political dysfunction and violence

Moqtada al-Sadr won most parliamentary seats last October, but he refused to negotiate with Iran-backed Shia groups to form a government, causing a year of political instability. When he announced his retirement from politics on 29 August it caused an eruption of street fighting overnight, as fighters exchanged gunfire. Tracer rounds illuminated the night sky in some of the worst violence to hit Baghdad in recent years, including using heavy weaponry such as rocket-propelled grenades. Some fighting was between the Peace Brigades, a militia loyal to Mr Sadr, and members of the Iraqi military. Some fighters Iran closed its borders with Iraq amidst the fighting, and Kuwait urged its citizens to leave immediately. A UN spokesperson has called for ‘immediate steps’ to de-escalate the situation. Iraq's caretaker prime minister has declared a nationwide curfew after unrest in several other cities, and suspended cabinet meetings. By 31 August most violence had stopped, but the country’s crisis has only deepened. See

Published in Worldwide
Friday, 26 August 2022 09:44

Lebanon: helping the persecuted

In the midst of persecution God is providing spiritual and financial support to Christians: spiritual investment is eternal, while the financial support is temporal. Help the Persecuted (HTP) addresses real needs with Gospel-centred, sustainable methods like an agricultural project in Lebanon that goes beyond providing physical needs. The community created around this farm is hearing the Gospel being shared along with food distribution. One member tells of being strangled by her radical Al-Qaeda husband and in that moment she saw Jesus. He reached out his hand and said, ‘I love you.’ She didn’t know who he was, but shortly afterwards learned about the person she saw in her vision. She gave her life to Jesus and fled alone to Lebanon. She knows he will never leave or forsake her. We can praise God for the work of HTP and need to continue praying for their protection and finances.

Published in Worldwide
Friday, 19 August 2022 00:05

India: escalating Christian persecution

The persecution of Christians in India is intensifying as Hindu extremists aim to cleanse the country of their presence and influence. The driving force behind this is Hindutva, an ideology that refuses to treat Christians and other religious minorities as true Indians because they allegedly have allegiances that lie outside India; it asserts the country should be purified of their presence. This is leading to systemic, often violent, carefully orchestrated targeting of Christians. The extremists often use social media to spread disinformation and stir up hatred. Pray that social media companies will do more to combat the spread of fake news and hatred on their platforms. Overall, violence against Christians remains at an extreme level, and levels of pressure in all spheres of life remain very high or extreme. Regions experiencing the most persecution are ruled by the Hindu nationalist party (BJP). Pray that this situation changes with the next elections (Himachal Pradesh in November and Gujarat in December).

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 18 August 2022 23:53

Afghanistan: how to pray, one year on

In August 2021 Afghans dreading the return of the draconian Taliban regime risked their lives clinging to the outside of departing planes, desperate to escape. Afghanistan is now the most dangerous place in the world to be a Christian. Closing the ministry of women’s affairs demonstrated a return to the denigration of women that had previously characterised the Taliban rule. Except for healthcare workers, women must stay at home ‘to protect their safety’. Girls’ secondary schools stay closed ‘until a comprehensive plan is prepared according to Sharia and Afghan culture’. The Taliban have re-established the ‘Ministry for the Prevention of Vice and Promotion of Virtue’ to enforce their strict interpretation of Sharia. Their drive for only the ‘purest’ form of Islam has left no room for Christians in Afghanistan. Please pray for the safety and protection of secret believers from being discovered, and for the families who have to leave everything behind as they flee to safety. See also

Published in Worldwide
Friday, 12 August 2022 10:19

Nigeria: a dangerous society

In 2017 Fulani militants seized a Christian mother’s land and burned down her house, forcing her and her family to move closer to the city for safety. Loss of their farmland forced the family of seven into deep poverty, living and sleeping in one room. On 8 August Fulani militants attempted to rape her 16-year-old daughter while they were out walking. A missionary visited the family after the attack and the mother said, ‘They told us to stop, then they beat me as I tried to stop them from raping my daughter.’ She showed the deep gash in her arm she received from the militants, and said God used her to protect her daughter from public disgrace and shame, which is how victims of rape are viewed in their society. ‘I have nothing to say but thank God. Please tell Christians to pray for us. Pray that we will return to our village one day. Life is too expensive in the city.’

Published in Worldwide

650 Bishops from across the Anglican Communion are debating at the Lambeth Conference if marriage is solely between a man and a woman. The once-a-decade conference ends on 8 August. There is now a three-way choice of voting options around homosexuality being incompatible with scripture. Originally bishops were asked to reaffirm a resolution of the 1998 Conference which considers homosexuality as ‘incompatible with scripture’. Now they can not only affirm it or abstain; they can vote against. This revised outlook has the potential to divide the church. A poll commissioned by the Ozanne Foundation found a clear majority of Anglicans believe that same-sex marriage is right, despite the church’s refusal to permit it. See

Published in British Isles