Persecution and Prayer Alert, Voice of the Martyrs
SOMALIA: Islamic Militants Abduct Christian Mother of Two
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Sources: Morning Star News, International Christian Concern, Christian Response, Christian Today
Islamic militants suspected to be from Al Shabaab have kidnapped a Christian mother and threatened to attack her husband because of their faith. Three masked men abducted Shamsa Enow Hussein, 28, outside her home in Bulo Marer, Lower Shebelle Region, on August 5th. Her husband, 31-year-old Mohamed Isse Osman, received a text from her that night urging him to evacuate. “Please leave immediately because of what we believe,” she said in the text. “They have abused me sexually, saying I am an infidel.”
Mohamed has also received anonymous threatening text messages from the kidnappers, including one that read, “Your wife has told us all about your Christian involvement and soon we shall come for you too.” Mohamed and his two daughters, aged 3 and 5, have moved to an undisclosed location. A religious leader in the region claims that Osman has had no contact with his wife since her text on August 5th.
Like most Somali Christians, Shamsa and her husband are secretive about their faith. According to one resident of Bulo Marer, locals are aware of Shamsa’s abduction but have no idea why it occurred. “What little we knew about (the) family was that they were not very committed to attending the mosque during Ramadan time,” he said. Somalis consider themselves Muslim by birth, and regard Islam as a significant part of their cultural identity. Officials estimate that Somalia is close to 100 percent Muslim. Apostasy, or the leaving of Islam, is punishable by death. For more on persecution in Somalia, go to the Somalia Country Report.
Pray that God will preserve Shamsa’s life, bringing her safely back to her family. May they sense His comforting presence throughout the turmoil. Also remember in your prayers other Somali believers who are fearing for their own safety and that of their loved ones. Ask that the Lord will not only provide His protection but also bless them with boldness as they speak the truth in love.
Pray together with other believers around the world by posting your prayers for Shamsa and her family on our prayer wall.
INDIA: Hindu Militants Attack Woman and Threaten Her Ministering Family
Sources: Asia News, Morning Star News, Christian Post
The mother of a Pentecostal pastor in Rajapark, Jaipur, was brutally attacked by Hindu militants who sought to kill her son and his wife. On August 13th, at 2:30 p.m., 51-year-old Reena Behl answered the door of her son’s house to find four men who she says were disguised with helmets, demanding to see her son, Rev. Vishaal Behl, and his wife. When they were told that she was unaware of the couple’s whereabouts, they pushed her aside and entered the house, breaking items and threatening to kill the couple. As Reena cried for help, the men pinned her to the floor and beat her. “If you do not convert to Hinduism, we will kill you and cut you to pieces,” they told her. The only other person home was her elderly mother-in-law. Neighbours hurried to Reena’s defense, at which point the militants fled. Reena was soon hospitalized with a head wound and a fractured hand.
Since the attack against Reena, the Behl family has relocated. As the leader of a prominent Christian ministry, Vishaal has previously been targeted by detractors. “Hindu extremists have threatened to kill Vishaal a number of times in the past because of his faith in Christ,” Reena explains. Reverend Behl is the Director of Fire of God Ministries, which includes two churches in Jaipur and one in Amritsar, Punjab state. Fire of God Ministries also oversees evangelistic conferences, a prison ministry and a school program.
A few years before entering the ministry, Vishaal and his wife converted from Hinduism to Christianity. Earlier in their Christian walk, they were persecuted by the rest of the family. Over time, the family’s hostility to Christianity diminished. Today Reena applauds the changes she has noticed in her son, and she is impressed by his faithfulness in ministry. Other stories about persecution in India, as well as video links, are available at the India Country Report.
Pray that God will deliver the Behl family from any further life-threatening attacks to their lives, and that He will mightily strengthen and sustain them. As they continue to put Him first and follow His direction, may the Lord abundantly bless Fire of God Ministries, using it in far greater ways. Ask for complete physical healing for Reena, and for the attackers to experience His transforming love and salvation.
VIETNAM: Praying Christians Brutally Assaulted by Police
Source: Christian Solidarity Worldwide
On July 31st, a group of Christians in Ho Chi Minh City were assaulted by police while gathered in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral for prayer. They were praying for the resolution of land disputes because the government has been trying to confiscate their properties. Police and security personnel forcibly ended the meeting, dragging the Christians onto buses. Those who resisted were brutally beaten. As a result, several had to undergo medical treatment in hospital.
In recent years, prayer vigils and peaceful protests have been held by Christians in response to the unlawful confiscation of land by the government. In June of 2012, authorities in Nghe An Province attempted to confiscate land owned by a church in Quy Chau District. In this situation, the parishioners were violently attacked by a large group which left many with serious cuts and bruises.
The Communist Party of Vietnam enforces strict control of all policy and activity. In particular, the confiscation of land is becoming a serious issue. The government is also using the confiscation to restrict unsanctioned religious activities. (Only government-controlled religious organizations are permitted.)
Unregistered churches in Vietnam face harassment and discrimination (see the Vietnam Country Report). Recently, severe famine in the land moved the government to start providing emergency aid to villages. Christian communities in desperate need were discriminated against by the government and left without the necessary provisions, unlike the response that was given to those of non-believers.
Please pray that our fellow believers in Vietnam will experience ongoing spiritual strength and growth as they face these challenging circumstances because of their faith. Also ask that the land disputes threatening their churches and communities will be fairly resolved. May those afflicting and harassing them sense God’s powerful touch…resulting in changed hearts and lives.