Persecution and Prayer Alert, Voice of the Martyrs
EGYPT: Two Christians Murdered Over Muslim Poll Tax
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Sources: Assyrian International News Agency, Assist News, VOM Contacts, CBN
Two government employees were killed for refusing to pay Jizya, a Muslim poll tax inflicted on Christians by the members of the Muslim Brotherhood. On September 12th, at around 10 a.m., a gang of militant Muslims fired bullets at the house of Emad Damian, 50, who was present in his home at the time of the shooting, along with his cousin Medhat Damian, 37. Both of the deceased men were from the village of Sahel Selim in Assuit Province.
Two days prior to the shooting, Emad received a phone call from Ashraf Ahmed Mohammed Khalajah, a Muslim gang leader and registered criminal. Ashraf demanded 10,000 Egyptian pounds (about $1,450) for weapons, threatening to kill Emad if he did not pay. Although Emad had reported the threat to the police and requested protection, no action was taken. Both of the victims leave behind grieving wives and children.
Numerous Christian activists have spoken out against the Jizya tax which, according to Islamic law, is to be applied to “conquered non-Muslims.” Since the ousting of President Mohammed Morsi, Muslim Brotherhood gangs in Egypt have been forcing Christians to pay this tax, allegedly to safeguard them from any violence and vandalism being directed toward their homes and businesses. This is also a major problem in the village of Delga (Minya province) where the “protection” tax charges can range anywhere from 200 to 500 Egyptian pounds daily, exorbitant amounts for many of these villagers. Learn more about the country’s political and spiritual climate by reviewing the Egypt Country Report.
Pray for the wives and children of Emad and Medhat…that God will greatly comfort them, provide His protection, meet their needs, and take away their deepest fears. Also lift up other suffering believers there in Egypt who are struggling to survive in such a volatile environment. May they remain faithful, trusting for the Lord’s protection and provision upon their lives as well. Ask for the Holy Spirit’s conviction to take place in the hearts of those who are imposing such harsh demands on His persecuted people, inflicting even more unnecessary hardship on them. This includes Ashraf and his gang who clearly need a divine encounter with the Living God and supernatural deliverance from evil.
Egypt Update: According to recent reports by “The Washington Times” and “The Associated Press,” police have arrested the Muslim Brotherhood’s main English-speaking spokesman, Gehad el-Haddad, along with other senior members of the group, for inciting violence. Gehad is the son of Essam el-Haddad, a senior foreign policy aide to Mohammed Morsi. The father has reportedly been held in an undisclosed military facility with Mr. Morsi since the coup. Thank you for praying.
LAOS: Laotian Christian Families Facing Expulsion and Abuse
Sources: Asia News, International Christian Concern
Eleven Laotian families, about fifty people in all, face expulsion from Nongdaeng village (Borikan District, central province of Bolikhamsai) because of their conversion to Christianity. On August 30th, village authorities issued an order to family representatives, stating that they must abjure their faith and return to the local traditional religion of animism within three days to avoid expulsion. Despite the impending threat, the Laotian believers plan to continue conducting worship services, insisting that the Laos constitution protects their religious rights.
Problems with the Nongdaeng government began to escalate between April and May of 2013 when three Christian families began hosting worship services in their homes. Eight additional families residing nearby decided to embrace Christianity, increasing the total number of Christian families to eleven. Since the Communists came to power in 1975, and the resulting expulsion of foreign missionaries, the Christian minority in Laos has been subjected to strict governmental controls. Even tighter restrictions have been imposed since 2011, following a violent crackdown against protests led by some groups within the country’s Hmong ethnic minority. For previous reports of persecution against Christians in Laos, go to the Laos Country Report.
While we can thank the Lord that these Christians are refusing to renounce their faith while facing such intense pressure, ask that He bless and honour them for their relentless courage and devotion to Him. Pray that He will always remain at the centre of their fellowship, filling them with His strength, unfailing love, mercy and the ability to forgive others. In fact, through their strong Christian witness, may those persecuting them recognize the power of God at work in and through their lives. In addition, pray that these Laotian believers be encouraged to continue interceding for their government, so they can live peaceful and quiet lives in godliness and holiness (1 Timothy 2:1-2).
NIGERIA: Fatal Attack Perpetrated by Militant Herdsmen and Soldiers
Sources: Morning Star News, VOM Contacts
During a night raid by militant Muslims in Plateau state, a Christian man and his two teenage sons were tragically killed, and his wife critically wounded. At about 10 p.m. on September 3rd, ethnic Fulani herdsmen and soldiers raided Gura Dabwam village (near Jos in Gyel District), killing the 42-year-old father, Dauda Dalyop, and his two sons: Bitrus, 17, and Daniel, 15. The attack has also left Dauda’s wife, Kangyang, 35, in critical condition at the Plateau State Specialist Hospital. Surprisingly, their 5-year-old son Dantong survived the attack unharmed.
Pastor Davou Pam, representing the Church of Christ in Nations, explained that his family had just finished their nightly devotional time when they heard gunshots in the village that night. He recounts the aftermath of the attack and subsequent shock over the tragic loss: “I heard wailings from some houses, and then I went there to find that my church member, Dauda Dalyop, and his two sons were killed, while his wife was injured.” Pastor Davou is now seeking ways to care for the wounded widow and her only surviving son. For information on how you can help victims of persecution through the Family of Martyrs Fund, please check our Special Funds. To review past reports, go to the Nigeria Country Report.
Pray that God will greatly comfort Kangyang and her young son, Dantong, assuring them of His ability to minister to their every need. May He not only provide protection to them and other Christians residing in Plateau state, but also replace their anxiety with the “peace that surpasses all understanding.” Also ask for His wisdom and guidance in the situation so that governing authorities will be able to effectively deal with the attackers. Most important of all, may the Lord use the situation to draw His people into a closer relationship with Him and those in need of salvation to the cross of Calvary.
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