Displaying items by tag: Persecution
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.
Across Nigeria 1,470 Christians have been murdered and 2,200 abducted since January. The most recent offence was in Kaduna State when eight Christians were killed and a church was burned down. Pray for an end to such attacks by Fulani Muslim herdsmen and jihadists. In Burkina Faso jihadists ambushed a baptism and killed 15 of the Christians. Al-Qaeda and IS have been growing in West Africa since January. Pray for God's peace for the many who are living in fear and protection over those who ran away. In India’s Rajasthan state 15 radical Hindu nationalists carrying swords, sickles, and a gun attacked the family of a pastor after they all refused to renounce their Christian faith. The assailants killed the pastor’s 52-year-old father. Pray for God to strengthen and encourage church planters and house churches in different Hindu-dominant villages. Armenian Christian gravestones are used to build roads in Azerbaijan as they seek to eradicate evidence of Armenian culture and identity.
29 June is traditionally regarded as the date on which the Apostle Paul was beheaded on the Appian Way in Rome. Join Christians around the world who will take time on that day to honor the legacy of those who, like Paul, gave their lives to advance the gospel. This year, Voice of the Martyrs is honoring the legacy of Rocio Pino, from Colombia. On 6 March 2011, Rocio was shot to death in retaliation for her witness for Christ to guerrilla fighters in Colombia.
Armenian-Lebanese Vicken Euljekjian, a civilian prisoner of war captured when Azerbaijan invaded Nagorno-Karabakh and seized new territory, has been indicted on three counts: participation as a mercenary in a military conflict, committing terrorism, and illegally crossing into Azerbaijan. These charges are falsely leveled against Euljekjian. They are part of the joint attempt by Azerbaijan and Turkey to justify their genocidal actions in Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan invaded Nagorno-Karabakh in September 2020, with the support of Turkish-backed Syrian mercenaries. The brutality of the invasion demonstrated an intent of ethnic-religious cleansing towards Karabakh’s Armenian Christian community, whose presence in the region predates the Islamic Turkish presence.
On 11 May four Christian farmers from the remote village of Kalimago, Poso regency, were murdered by five sword-wielding attackers. The terrorists ambushed a group of farmers who were harvesting their coffee plantation. The victims were aged between 42 and 61. A fellow-farmer saw the suspects carrying firearms and sharp weapons approach the victims before he fled and informed the police, who later said the witness identified one attacker as a fugitive and a member of the IS-linked Eastern Indonesia Mujahideen (MIT) terrorist group. The attack was motivated by robbery and to terrorise local residents. One of the victims was decapitated in this particularly brutal attack. In November, the same Sulawesi-based terrorist group burned down a Salvation Army church and Christian homes, and hacked four Christians to death and beheaded one. The authorities have not been able to capture the fugitives despite months of efforts.
Last week you prayed for the UK to settle the debt they owe to Iran, so that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe can finally be released from prison. Please keep praying. This week the UK and Iran are in discussions over the £400m that the UK owes for failing to deliver tanks Iran bought in the 1970s. Nazanin believes she has been imprisoned as leverage for the debt. Boris Johnson said ministers were doing ‘everything we can to look after her interests and all the very difficult dual national cases we have in Tehran’. On 1 May Iranian state TV suggested the UK had paid the debt - but the Government said nothing had changed.
In 1915 two million Armenians lived in Turkey; today there are fewer than 60,000. Successive regimes deny that there was such a thing as an Armenian genocide. Turkey now appears intent on reigniting the hatred by helping Azerbaijan wage war on Armenia in the context of the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute, which erupted into armed conflict in late 2020. Turkish mercenaries and their Azerbaijani partners have ISIS-like behavior. They tortured beyond recognition an intellectually disabled 58-year-old Armenian woman before murdering her. Her family identified her by her clothes. When a random pedestrian was asked, ‘If you could get away with one thing, what would you do?’ She looked at the video camera and smiled saying, ‘What would I do? Behead twenty Armenians.’ 24 April was Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, marking the start of the period in which Ottoman Turks massacred 1.5 million Armenians during World War I. On 27 April that Turkey said relations with the US had sunk to a new low after Joe Biden formally acknowledged that Armenians suffered genocide 100 years ago.
Christians in Myanmar are praying for their country, they are in the streets, on their knees with their head bowed or laying down stretched out with arms raised. Whole neighbourhoods are involved in visible prayer. Christians in Myanmar have been persecuted for probably a hundred years in this Buddhist country; they make up about 6% of the population. The military has been continually attacking them, and they have suffered terribly. When there was a democratically elected government the Christians were doing better. But with the recent military coup, under Chinese pressure, the whole population, including Buddhists have had enough of the military and they want democracy. The Christians are lying down in the streets: not a political protest, they’re crying out to God for peace and healing. Please join those praying for an end to this deteriorating situation and relieve the population from fear of civil war.
Believers can languish in captivity for years in Eritrea. ‘They often aren’t even charged with anything and they don’t go to court’, said Greg Musselman from Voice of the Martyrs. In an unexpected move, Eritrea’s government released dozens of prisoners in late February. Many believers thought, ‘things are changing!’ But Musselman said, ‘The Eritrean government may be trying to curry favour with Ethiopia, their neighbouring country, because the prime minister there is a Christian. As recent arrests show, these changes were too good to be true. Our hopes that the Eritrean government was loosening its grip on evangelicals now seem to be going in the opposite direction. Eritrea is claiming religious freedom, but that’s not happening at all.’
Four Christian men were beaten and scarred by knives carving Xs on their skin, and forced to eat sheets of the Bible in a recent shocking incident in Venezuela. The perpetrators are believed to oppose the work of Restoration House, a church-led drug rehabilitation programme in the city of Libertador, which the four victims had joined. Threats had been made against the house before the attack. In Latin America, the illegal activities of drug gangs are endangered by churches who deter people from criminality. This can lead to opposition, which explains this latest Venezuelan incident. The men have since been discharged from hospital. One remains in particularly poor health, with injuries to his lungs and head and two broken ribs. Two others have their legs and arms in casts. Pray for God to surround them with His healing presence, and that they will continue their recoveries from drug addiction and grow in their walks with Jesus.