Displaying items by tag: Terrorism
Emad al-Swealmeen moved to the UK several years ago and converted to Christianity from Islam in 2017. He was looked after for several months by a Christian couple who volunteered at Liverpool Cathedral where he attended an Alpha course and was confirmed. In 2014 he had his asylum claim rejected. Associates believed he was only interested in converting to Christianity because he believed it would assist his asylum claim. He made a new application in 2017. He suffered mental health problems and was sectioned seven years ago after trying to kill himself by jumping off an overpass, while waving a knife. Then on 11 November he detonated a homemade bomb inside a taxi, killing himself and injuring the driver, David Perry, who survived and has been discharged from hospital. Four men have been arrested under terrorism laws. People who knew Swealmeen said, ‘We're just so, so sad. We just loved him, he was a lovely guy.’
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.
An ongoing anti-Christian campaign in Canada has resulted in churches being attacked and burnt down. Those responsible include far-left terrorists with a Marxist ideology whose sole purpose is to strike fear in Canadians for practising their faith. Most of the churches burnt and defaced serve indigenous Christians. ‘Burning down churches is not in solidarity with us indigenous people. We do not destroy people's places of worship,’ said Jenn Allan-Riley, assistant Pentecostal minister at Living Waters Church. Seventeen of the 45 buildings, across six provinces and the Northwest Territories, have suffered fire damage or been completely burned to the ground. The terrorism began following discoveries of unmarked graves of indigenous children on the sites of Catholic boarding schools. Terrorists also targeted non-Catholic churches. Calgary’s House of Prayer Alliance Church was torched, leaving 230 Vietnamese refugees with nowhere to meet. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police are investigating the terrorism.
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.
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.
The army in Burkina Faso needs to contain spreading violence by al-Qaeda and IS. More than thirty men, women, and children were killed by 100 rebels burning down homes and shooting people trying to escape. Survivors are praying for peace and are very afraid. One week earlier two Spanish journalists and an Irish conservationist were killed, and a soldier went missing when an anti-poaching patrol was ambushed by rebels. Another 18 people were killed in a different village. Last year the government enlisted volunteer militiamen to help the army, but they incurred retaliation by the rebels attacking them and the communities they helped. Armed groups have driven religious and ethnic tensions between farming and herding communities in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger to boost recruitment among marginalised communities. The UN said worsening violence has led to one of the world’s most acute humanitarian crises.
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.
IS has taken a firm grip on territory in Mozambique, far from its original strongholds in Syria. Even though it is losing territory in most other places, it has killed and kidnapped thousands in the country since 2017. Sphiwe, a Christian worker with Trans World Radio, says, ‘They behead people, they attack homes and villages. People live in fear. It causes displacement, as people move away to protect themselves.’ Many fear the next attack so much they avoid working in the fields. Christian broadcasting continues in troubled areas and also provides support for refugees. Sphiwe says, ‘It is emotionally draining. Sometimes they are adopted or taken in with other families, so that one family may end up having fifty people within one home because they are trying to help out.’ Pray for those fleeing from trauma in Mozambique to find hope and life in Jesus.
In 2014, militants stormed a boarding school in Chibok and kidnapped 276 girls. Dozens escaped almost immediately; another girl was found in May 2016. After government/Boko Haram negotiations, 21 more girls were released, then 82 were freed in a prisoner swap in 2017. Since then, nothing had been heard of the remaining captives, until Halima Ali Maiyanga called her father to say she had managed to escape on 28 January. ‘She asked me, Is this my daddy? and she started crying. The crying was so much I couldn't hear her very well. I was crying too. I never expected to hear from her again. Our house is full of people rejoicing with us.’ Halima and others are safe and being looked after by the Nigerian army. While we praise God for their escape, please continue to pray for the remaining girls and their families.
An attack on 28 November by Boko Haram terrorists on farmers working in rice fields in northeastern Nigeria killed at least 110 people. ‘The incident is the most violent direct attack against innocent civilians this year. Many women are also believed to have been kidnapped. Security forces and volunteer vigilante groups are searching to find people still missing. Locals say they recovered 43 bodies in villages near Maiduguri, the capital of the restive Borno state, which has been plagued by an armed campaign for over ten years. A local resident said, ‘Nobody knows the exact number of people killed. We can’t account for farmers who were there; we don’t know if they are hiding in the bush or if they were kidnapped.’ Pray for God to comfort the mourners. See also