Persecution and Prayer Alert, Voice of the Martyrs
Update: Blasphemy charges against Pakistani teenager dropped
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(Source: Release International)
The charges against Rimsha Masih, a teenager accused of blasphemy in Pakistan, were dropped on November 20th due to lack of witnesses. Rimsha, who was accused of burning sacred Islamic texts, spent three weeks in an adult prison before being released on bail in September (for more information, click here).
While the charges have been dropped, concern remains for Rimsha’s safety. She and her family have been living at an undisclosed location since her bail release.
Thank the Lord for Rimsha’s release! Pray that He will comfort and encourage her and her family. Pray for their safety and protection. Pray that other Pakistani believers will be emboldened to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with their neighbours, despite possible risk.
Muslim convert dies in Eritrean prison
(Source: Open Doors)
Adris Ali Mohammed has recently died after spending two very difficult years in prison at the Aderset Military Camp in Eritrea. The 31-year-old was confined to a small dungeon-like cell where he was denied medical treatment for malaria. Despite the fatal outcome, Christ’s victory over death has freed Adris from his suffering and he is now experiencing the glorious promise of eternal life.
In 2010, Adris was arrested in the town of Tesenai after the Eritrean police learned of his conversion to Christianity. Sources state that he bravely withstood horrific persecution and held steadfastly onto his faith. It is estimated that there are about 100 other believers currently imprisoned in Aderset.
Please lift up in prayer the family members and friends mourning Adris at this time. May the example of his unwavering faith serve to be a source of encouragement to them. Please pray that Adris’ relentless love for Jesus Christ will be vividly remembered by those who so harshly mistreated him, resulting in the softening of their hearts. Also pray that the gospel will be effectively proclaimed throughout Eritrea.
For more information on the persecution of Christians in this country, go to the Eritrea Country Report.
Churches vandalized in the Holy Land
(Source: Assist News Service)
Calvary Baptist Church in Jerusalem is the latest target in a string of vandalism incidents against Christian holy sites in Israel this year. The church, which is led by an Arab-Israeli Christian pastor, was vandalized on November 12th.
“The sign pointing people to the church was defaced,” states Pastor Steven Khoury. He also adds that vandals burned a door of the Trappist Monastery in Latrun and spray-painted anti-Christian graffiti. In October, the Church of the Dormition Abbey on Mt. Zion, near Jerusalem’s Old City, was defaced as well. In February, anti-Christian graffiti and slurs against Jesus were spray-painted onto another Jerusalem church (for more information, click here).
Khoury’s ministry—Holy Land Missions—preaches the gospel to both Jews and Palestinians, while also bringing worldwide awareness to the persecution of Christians living in the Holy Land. The ministry reports that throughout the country, there are about 15,000 evangelical Arab-Israeli believers who face persecution daily.
Please pray that Christians in this area will remain strong spiritually and serve as instruments of God’s peace in the midst of hostility. May those in authority handle such incidents with wisdom and discernment. Pray that those hurt by these malicious acts will have forgiving hearts toward the perpetrators.
To learn more about the opposition of the Church in Israel, visit the Israel Country Report.
Christians facing opposition in Karnataka, India
(Source: Open Doors)
In Karnataka state, a mob of about 20 Hindu extremists beat a pastor to unconsciousness. While he was hospitalized with resulting head and neck injuries, as well as broken ribs, the assailants returned the next morning to further harm him. The relentless attacks left Pastor Samuel Kim in serious condition. Guards are now posted outside of his hospital room so he can safely recover.
Meanwhile, a Christian-run child-development centre in the state that was accused of forcefully converting Hindu children to Christianity has resumed operations. A local politician levelled the accusations, but the centre re-opened in late October after the Hindu parents of the children who attend the centre met with the accusers and denied allegations.
Please pray that the escalation of attacks will cease and that the unreached people will have opportunities to hear the Good News and receive God’s salvation. Also pray that those hurt in these attacks will experience complete healing.
Go to the India Country Report to learn more about our persecuted brothers and sisters in this part of the world.
Update: Opposition against churches in Indonesia continues
(Source: Christian Solidarity Worldwide)
Muslim protesters recently used loudspeakers and loud music to prevent a church from holding Sunday services in West Java, Indonesia. The Batak Society Christian Church of Philadelphia was forced to cancel its Sunday service after scores of protesters gathered to harass the believers. Reverend Palty Panjaitan said he tried to talk with the protesters, but police told him to cancel the service to prevent any violence. “By doing so, however, they violated our constitutional right,” he adds. At a protest in May, the congregation was subjected to hate speech and death threats. This same church has been trying to get permission to build a worship facility in the district after submitting an application back in 2007 (to learn more, click here).
In a similar case of harassment involving GKI Yasmin Church, Indonesia’s Interior Minister and local Bogor City authorities ordered this particular church to relocate to an undeveloped plot of land five miles from the established property they had already owned. Despite a 2011 Indonesian Supreme Court ruling that the church could reopen, local officials are ordering the church to move (for more information on the harassment of this congregation, click here).
Christian leaders say local governments across Indonesia are appeasing the predominantly Muslim population by putting complex and difficult requirements on churches to obtain building and occupancy permits.
Please pray that any barriers to worship will be removed for these dedicated Indonesian believers. May their determination and joy serve as a bold witness to the power of the one true God. Pray that God will work powerfully in the lives of those who persecute His Church in Indonesia, drawing them into relationship with Him.
Go to the Indonesia Country Report for more information on our suffering brothers and sisters in Indonesia.