|Persecution and Prayer Alert, Voice of the Martyrs|
Convert from Islam whipped in public in SomaliaBy Guest Column Thursday, January 12, 2012
(Source: Compass Direct News)
A Somali convert from Islam was paraded before a cheering crowd recently and publicly flogged as a punishment for embracing a “foreign religion.” Sofia Osman, a 28-year-old Christian from Janale city in Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region, had been taken into custody by al Shabaab militants in November.
The public whipping was meant to mark her release. She received 40 lashes on December 22 while jeered by spectators. ” was whipped 40 lashes ... but she didn’t tell what other humiliations she had suffered while in the hands of the militants,” an eyewitness said, adding that the whipping left her bleeding. “I saw her faint. I thought she had died, but soon she regained consciousness and her family took her away.” The whipping was administered in front of hundreds of spectators after Sofia was released from her month-long custody in al Shabaab camps.
In the days after the punishment while Sofia was nursing her injuries at her family’s home, she would not talk to anyone and looked dazed, a source close in touch with the family said. “Please pray for her quick recovery,” the source added.
Pray the Lord will completely heal Sofia of all physical and emotional injuries. Ask the Lord to protect her from further harm. Pray that she will rest in the knowledge that the Good Shepherd walks with her through this difficult time (Psalm 23). Pray her faithful testimony will be used as a witness for the gospel. Pray for all Christians in Somalia.
Radical Muslims kill 29 Christians in two days in Nigeria
(Source: International Christian Concern)
Members of the radical Islamic group, Boko Haram, killed 29 Christians in two days. Twenty Christians were gunned down on January 6 while holding a meeting to discuss ways to transport a body of a fellow Christian who was killed in an attack a day earlier. The martyrs in the January 5 attack were attending a worship service at Deeper Life Church in Gombe when the attack took place.
The killings followed a threat issued on January 1 by Boko Haram telling Christians to leave northern Nigeria within three days (for more information, click here). The group fights for the implementation of a strict form of Shariah law all over Nigeria, including the southern region of Nigeria where Christians are the majority. The Nigerian government declared a state of emergency to contain anti-Christian violence.
Rev. James Wuye, a northern Nigerian church leader, has urged Nigerian Christians not to resort to revenge in the face of increasing attacks. He said, “I ask Christians in Nigeria that we should exercise restraint and pray that the God of Elijah will surely fight for us. And Christians should show love for their neighbours because that is what Jesus Christ teaches.”
Pray the Lord will give Christians the grace and strength to resist taking up arms against their attackers. Pray the Lord will bring rest and peace to this troubled nation. Pray for those who have lost loved ones; may they be filled with the joy that comes from knowing that they will see them again at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18). Pray for the Nigerian government, the military and the members of Boko Haram.
For more on Nigeria’s suffering Church, please visit the Nigeria Country Report.
Anti-Christian incidents in Indonesia nearly doubled in 2011
(Source: Compass Direct News)
Acts of violence and intolerance against Christians in Indonesia almost doubled in 2011. The Indonesian Protestant Church Union counted 54 acts of violence and other violations against Christians in 2011, up from 30 in 2010. The number of such incidents against religious minorities in general also grew, from 198 in 2010 to 276 in 2011. The worst is perhaps yet to come if authorities continue to overlook the threat of extremism, said a representative from the Jakarta-based Wahid Institute, a Muslim organization that promotes tolerance.
Indonesia’s hot-bed of extremism is West Java, the most populous province that includes the nation’s capital city of Jakarta. This province alone witnessed 160 incidents against religious minorities. Churches in West Java, where there are approximately 520,000 Christians, also suffered the most last year. On Christmas Day, two churches in West Java’s Bogor city bore the brunt of growing extremism. “Islamist vigilantes screamed and yelled at us and threatened us, as we sought to hold a Christmas service,” a leader of the Gereja Kristen Indonesia told Compass.
Pray believers will be encouraged to continue to meet together despite opposition (Hebrews 10:23-25). Ask the Lord to continue to grow His church in number, wisdom, understanding and faithfulness. Pray for those who oppose the gospel in Indonesia.
Go to the Indonesia Country Report for more on persecution in Indonesia.
Update: One year later, no answers to Egypt church bombing
(Sources: AP, International Christian Concern)
Just over a year ago, Amira Maurice was attending a New Year’s Eve Mass in the Saints Church in Egypt’s Mediterranean coastal city of Alexandria with her fiancé, their marriage set for only a few months away. Then a bomb blast ripped through the church. Now, the 28-year-old pharmacist is in Germany undergoing the latest in a string of surgeries to save her leg and deal with her burns. Her fiancé is dead, one of the 21 people killed in the suicide bombing targeting the church (for more on the attack, click here).
The one year anniversary of the bombing of the Saints Church in Alexandria has passed with no new insights to the case. Named as Egypt’s most dramatic anti-Christian attack, the bombing killed 21 people and wounded many more. While a few suspects were detained, they have since been released and no other inroads have been made in the investigation.
Pray for those who continue to grieve the loss of loved ones. Pray for the wounded who continue to heal from the attack. Pray that the perpetrators will be located and that the authorities will justly investigate the event. Pray that religious freedom will be respected in Egypt.
For more on the trials believers face in Egypt, go to the Egypt Country Report.